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Chilean president reaches out to activists

Aug. 29, 2011 at 8:33 PM   |   Comments

SANTIAGO, Chile, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has called for dialogue with student activists after protests led to the killing of a teenager last week, officials said.

Pinera said the Chilean government is taking full responsibility for the death of Manuel Gutierrez Reinoso, 16, who was shot dead last Thursday during a clash between protesters and police, La Tercera reported Monday.

"After three months of protests, strikes and hunger strikes, we have seen violence flourish. We believe it is time for peace, unity, dialogue and agreements," said Pinera.

Witnesses blamed police for firing the shot that killed Gutierrez, marking the first fatality in months of demonstrations across the country.

The Chilean Student Confederation has agreed to sit down with Pinera in exchange for the removal of Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, who they said was responsible for the death of Gutierrez.

Demonstrations for education reform started in April when thousands of students took to the streets across Chile.

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