Nov. 11 - Thousands of students in Colombia stop traffic in Bogota as they protest unpopular education reforms they say will deprive millions of the right to free education. Rough cut (No reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Thousands of Colombian university students took to the streets on Thursday, even as President Juan Manuel Santos reiterated pleas for them to return to the classroom. Students from 30 public universities converged on Bogota's historic Plaza Bolivar to call for an end to government reforms they fear will take away the right to free education. Riling the government and police since October 12, protesters have taken over schools and flooded the capital's streets in the increasingly popular demonstrations. An embattled President Santos is looking for a swift end to a conflict he says is costing the country the equivalent of 40,000 places in the higher education system a day. However, defiant protesters showed no signs of budging until the government begins work towards a universal system of education. The government says their unpopular reforms aim to expand the university system, but students say it is the first step to privatising higher education in the South American country. Thursday was the second day of three days of planned protests. The conservative government is looking to avert a months-long conflict like the one that threatening to derail Chile's government.