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Chile: Students protest education system

May 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM
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SANTIAGO, Chile, May 17 (UPI) -- Activists say some 100,000 students and supporters took to the streets of Santiago to protest Chile's class-based education system.

The march, organized by the Confederation of University Students of Chile, was the second of its kind this year.

Thousands of protests were held last year by high school and college students demanding an end to for-profit education and the implementation of free higher education.

The Santiago Times said President Sebastian Pinera has proposed ending reliance on student loans from private banks, which made an estimated $500 million last year off of government-backed student aid.

Pinera also proposed increasing business taxes to provide an extra $1 billion for education spending.

"It seems very important to me to get the attention of Chile's congressmen and tell them not to vote for this proposed tax adjustment -- it is a measure benefitting the wealthy class," Gabriel Boric, a spokesman for the activists, said at the march. "And if you pass this proposal … we the students are going to keep marching, keep mobilizing."

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