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Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:17AM
Thousands of Chilean students march during a protest demanding the government of President Sebastian Pinera high quality and free public education in Santiago on April 25, 2012.

Thousands of Chilean students march during a protest demanding the government of President Sebastian Pinera high quality and free public education in Santiago on April 25, 2012.

Tens of thousands of Chilean students have rallied in the capital Santiago to renew their call for free quality education. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Wednesday that he was planning to raise $700 million, which will be enough to bring genuine changes to Chile's education system, but student protesters on the streets dismissed the plan as insufficient, The Associated Press reported. "This is a very profound change. It seeks quality and equal education. It establishes a system of credit that favors 90 percent of the students, and the state will provide the resources," Pinera said in national television broadcast. The plan has been largely rejected by students as they say it still keeps higher education as a pay service. According to the government, 30,000 university and high school students demonstrated in Santiago whereas student leaders put the figure at over 50,000. The massive demonstration turned violent after police clashed with the protesters. Police fired water cannons and tear gas to break up the crowd, and the protesters hit back by throwing rocks and other objects. They also set fire to a government security building. Chile has been the scene of student protests for the past seven months. Students demand more funding and a major educational overhaul. GJH/AS/HN
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