The fight for free public education continued on Tuesday of this week with a mass demonstration in the capital Santiago. The protest, which attracted tens of thousands of young people was organised by the Confederation of Chilean Students (CONFECH) and was also supported by two organisations of school students. In the past schoolchildren have occupied schools, defying authorities who tried to remove them, with amazing courage. Earlier this month, teachers took part in a natioinal strike for free education.

Once again the protesters were met by heavily armed riot police and 34 young people were arrested. The demonstration was timed in the run up to the presidential elections - a social democrat is the front runner to succeed the right wing Sebastian Pinera, who has done everything in his power to suppress protest, including passing new laws. However it has to be said that the social democrats have been in charge in the country before and have done little about the neo-liberalisation of education in Chile, the first country in the world to suffer this fate under the dictator Pinochet. Michele Bachelet, the current favourite to win was President between 2006 and 2010.

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