Largest student protest of 2012 in Chile draws 150,000
June 29, 2012
Rain slowed, but did not stop massive files of students, workers and protesters as they marched past the presidential palace to protest education costs and profiteering Thursday. The Confederation of Chilean Students (Confech), the university student organization that coordinated the protest, estimated the number of protesters at 150,000.
“The government is right to be worried because we are dealing with a minister who bows to business,” said Confech Spokesperson Gabriel Boric at the march’s closing ceremony. “We want to say that while this happens, we will not be quiet. We went from a military dictatorship to a market dictatorship.”
In Chile, the majority of education costs are borne by private citizens. Confech and other student organizations have called for the government to take a more active investment.
In addition to the movement’s broad call for education reforms, many protesters specifically spoke against profiteering in the educational system. At least seven universities are under investigation for taking money from the instruction and putting it into the pockets of its directors and executives.
This was the movement’s third major protest of the year, but first sanctioned route past La Moneda presidential palace. It was also the biggest of the three, according to the Confech estimate.