Two students have been shot dead as they took part in protests in Valparaiso, Chile. The students were part of a day of action for free education which was taking place all over Chile last Thursday (14th May). 

Chile has been characterised by a long struggle for free education and for an end to the privatisation and corporate 'reform' of schools,  which started in that country after the bloody coup which brought Pinochet to power in 1973. For the last several years university and high school students have been engaged in mass protests, coming onto the streets in their thousands day after day to demand free and equal education for all, both at the school and university levels. Teachers have often joined them in their protests, and also staged many strikes. All this activity culminated in the election of a left wing government under Michelle Bachelet in 2014, pledged to finally bring about free education. 

As the present leader of the teachers union says: 'It is important to make it clear that this reform (for free education) would not have passed into law if it had not been for the struggle led by the social and political movement.' And the struggle did not stop with the election of the Bachelet government. Students and teachers protested in their thousands last year demanding that the government move further and faster with the promised reforms.

150,000 students and teachers, who were demonstrating on the streets of the capital Santiago on Thursday, were attacked by police using tear gas and water cannon. The students in Valparaiso were shot dead as they hung a banner outside a business. Police deny involvement in those deaths. It is a great sadness for those who believe in social justice everywhere, that once again people demanding free education should lose their lives in the struggle. This website sends its deepest sympathy and solidarity to the families and comrades of the young people and to all those in Chile, who have for so long been in the front line of the battle against neoliberal education policy.