Chilean students don’t give up

This video is called Chilean protester Camila Vallejo – the Guardian.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

60,000 rally for free education in Chile

Thursday 26 April 2012

by Tom Mellen

Around 60,000 students and trade unionists have taken to the streets of Santiago to press their demand for free quality education.

The march on Wednesday was organised by the Confederation of University Students of Chile (Confech), which led last year’s mass protests for a decent state-run education system, and was backed by the Association of Teachers of Chile.

The overwhelming majority of protesters were peaceful.

They carried large colourful banners, including one with an image of Albert Einstein wearing an Ernesto “Che” Guevara-style beret, through the centre of the capital.

Education Ministry union rep Juan Zenteno said: “Our goal is free and equal education in which students don’t graduate in debt.”

Education Minister Harald Bayer, who has ruled out free schooling, claimed that the march was not valid because of his government’s announcement on Monday that it will create a state agency to replace private lenders and reduce the interest rate on student loans from 6 per cent to 2 per cent.

Confech president Gabriel Boric responded: “We don’t want to trade debt for debt, which is what the government is offering us.”

And Confech vice-president Camila Vallejo condemned the government for continuing to treat education as a consumer product rather than a universal right.

Ms Vallejo said that the administration of billionaire President Sebastian Pinera had failed to heed student and union demands that ministers “eliminate profit from the entire national educational system, not only in the system of financing through private banks, but also the profits generated by private education institutions.

“The action on the streets shows that the fight for free education continues and we are many,” the Communist Party activist declared.

Ms Vallejo affirmed that students and their allies are ready to launch a “new wave of protests.

“We believe that it is possible for our country to progress to free education through a fairer tax system.”

See also here.

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