Thousands of Chilean students protest against profiteering

Dozens of high school students were detained in Santiago on Wednesday as a protest organized by the National Coordination of Secondary Students (CONES) turned ugly. Police reports put the total number of protesters at 5,000, while CONES said there were 15,000.

“They detained students that were holding up a canvas and were doing absolutely nothing more,” CONES leader Cristofer Sarabia said.

The march was organized to protest profiteering in Chile’s educational system, and was scheduled on the one-year anniversary of the start of the Chilean Winter, a series of student protests that shook the country in 2011. CONES planned the march earlier this month and received the backing of the Confederation of Chilean Students (CONFECH). A larger national student strike, also against profiteering, has been organized by CONFECH for June 28.

Profiteering has remained a central issue in Chilean education, as seven universities were found to have financial irregularities by an investigative committee on Monday. The National Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating further.

In addition to its anti-profiteering message, CONES declared the march to be in favor of free public education and the de-municipalization of schools. Sarabia condemned the government for its inaction and lack of supervision.

“After a year of mobilization where we took over more than 500 schools at a national level, we still don’t have concrete answers from the government,” Sarabia said before the march.

The Santiago Times


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