Teachers joined a general strike called by the Chilean Student Federation (ConFeCh) on Wednesday. They were also joined by workers from other unions - all campaigning for free and high quality education for all as well as improved labour rights, better wages and health services. Chile is the most unequal country in the 34 nation OECD.

The billionaire president of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, is planning to introduce laws to curb public protests, describing some of those taking part in Wednesday's actions as, "a minority of criminals, who believe that covering their faces behind hoods allows them to commit crimes without punishment."

Many schools and universities were occupied by sudents in the capital. Yesterday morning, police broke into twenty secondary schools in Santiago and evicted the young people occupying them, with 122 arrests.

This is the latest event in a long and determined campaign for free education, led by students and young people in the country, often supported by teachers, and maintained despite police repression. As well as occupations, demonstrations and strikes, the students have tried many new and creative forms of protest, typical of which is the MIchael Jackson flashmob in the video clip above.

As well as closing many schools, the protest blocked ports and closed mines in the country. One of the main demands of the protesters is that the revenue from copper mines should be used to fund education. The chair of the Confederation of Copper Workers, Christian Cuevas, told the Santiago Times : “We are here because copper is ours, and we want it back so that children and young Chileans can receive a quality, universally free public education."

The issue of the mineral wealth of countries being used for the good of their own people instead of profits for corporations is one which crops up again and again on this website - particularly in African countries. The demands of students, teachers and workers in Chile echo those made by education activists and trade unionists in for instance Nigeria, for education rights and for the wealth of the country to be used for the public good.