Students clashed with police in the center of the Chilean capital on Thursday in the most recent blow up in ongoing protests over educational reform. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NATURAL (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Students clashed with police in the center of the Chilean capital on Thursday (June 9) in the most recent blow up in ongoing protests over educational reform. The Confederation of Chilean Students (Confech) took to the streets and began marching to demand the government speed up its education reform and go further than now planned. Carrying banner and flags, they are pushing the government to make higher education free in the country. The march began peacefully, but escalated into violence when hooded protesters vandalized a Santiago metro station. Riot police tried to disperse unruly crowds with a water cannon and tear gas. The violence comes as President Michelle Bachelet pushes through education reform in the South American country. Her government is set to bolster teacher pay and conditions, bring public schools - now managed and financed by townships - under national jurisdiction and provide additional state funds for poor students. These promises formed the base of Bachelet's election manifesto, after student protests four years ago played a major role in ending the conservative government of Sebastian Pinera. Last year, Chile's Congress approved the first of Bachelet's education reforms which include an end to profits at state-subsidized schools and eliminates their selective entrance policies. However, with Bachelet now over a year into her term, the new generation of student protesters say the reforms do not go far enough. Protesters have demanded that Chile use its natural resources and tax system to fund free tuition for students, who now are often saddled with loans.