Aug. 23 - Chilean police fire tear gas and water cannon on students demonstrating to demand education reforms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: Thousands of Chilean students returned to the streets Thursday (August 23) as they stepped up their stand-off with the government demanding widespread education reform in the South American country. There were a number of splinter protests in Santiago. Police fired tear gas and water cannons to break up one of the protests in the capital city. The demonstrators, mostly high school students, responded by hurling rocks and other projectiles at police officers and the large water cannon trucks that sprayed them down. Students also created roadblocks that police quickly moved in to try and dismantle. Students recently radicalised their protests after they accused Chilean President Sebastian Pinera of failing to hear their calls for sweeping education reform and free college education. Students also accuse the right-wing government of allowing the wealthy right to control the debate over education funding. Public school students and teachers say privileged, private schools receive government funds that would be better served in improving the public school system. Students want the education system to be in the hands of the central government instead of local municipalities as they have been since the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. Chilean students have been locked in incessant protests for over a year, often scuffling with police as they call for a free and universal education system. Last year, hundreds of high schools and universities were occupied for months leading to many students losing the academic year because of the widespread protests.