The Americas

Chile Students Launch Strike With Fiery Blockades

  • October 19: A group of masked protestors block a street in downtown in Santiago, Chile.

    October 19: A group of masked protestors block a street in downtown in Santiago, Chile.  (AP)

  • October 19: Students watch demonstrations from the top of a university building in Santiago, Chile.

    October 19: Students watch demonstrations from the top of a university building in Santiago, Chile.  (AP)

SANTIAGO, Chile-- Chilean students have erected fiery blockades in major streets of the capital and clashed with police on the first day of a two-day national strike to demand that the government reform the education system.

Masked protesters launched homemade firebombs at police Tuesday before taking refuge inside university and other school buildings. They also lit a public bus on fire outside a university campus after its passengers fled. The clashes jammed traffic throughout Santiago.

Students have been protesting for more than five months to demand free public education for all; reduced state subsidies for private colleges; and improvement in the quality of education overall.

They called the two-day demonstrations to protest the lack of an agreement with the government.