Friday Sep 23, 201105:25 AM GMT
Chileans call for educational reform
Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:26AM
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Protesters in Chile (file photo)
Tens of thousands of Chilean students and teachers have staged a mass protest rally in the capital city of Santiago to insist on their demands for educational reforms the country.

The protesters, who called for reforms including a larger budget for public schools, marched from the University of Santiago in the western part of the capital to the La Moneda presidential palace on Thursday, AFP reported.

At least 50 demonstrators have reportedly been detained by police during skirmishes which erupted at the end of the protest.

Organizers of the rally say over 150,000 protesters took part in the latest street demonstration, making it the largest rally in the past several weeks.

"This is an absolutely massive march that has surpassed our expectations," said student leader Giorgio Jackson.

Protesters complain that the country's educational system is badly under-resourced and deeply divided between private and public schools, while other critics have gone further, calling it an "educational apartheid.”

The unrelenting student protests have been described as the biggest protest movement in the South American state since the end of General Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship.

This comes as Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who assumed power as a center-right politician in March 2010, has so far resisted demands for educational reform.

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