World

Chilean students hold protests complaining about delays in promised education overhaul

  • A protester dressed as the cartoon character Homer Simpson steps between demonstrators and police, in an attempt to stop clashes at the end of a student march in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Demonstrators came out to complain about delays in an education overhaul and ask President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

    A protester dressed as the cartoon character Homer Simpson steps between demonstrators and police, in an attempt to stop clashes at the end of a student march in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Demonstrators came out to complain about delays in an education overhaul and ask President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A masked demonstrator prepares to throw a petrol bomb at police at the end of a student march in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Demonstrators marched to complain about delays in an education overhaul and ask President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

    A masked demonstrator prepares to throw a petrol bomb at police at the end of a student march in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Demonstrators marched to complain about delays in an education overhaul and ask President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Masked protesters shield themselves from police water cannons in the courtyard of the University of Santiago in Santiago, Chile, Thursday Aug. 27, 2015. Demonstrators marched to complain about delays in an education overhaul and ask President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)

    Masked protesters shield themselves from police water cannons in the courtyard of the University of Santiago in Santiago, Chile, Thursday Aug. 27, 2015. Demonstrators marched to complain about delays in an education overhaul and ask President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of students are marching in the streets of the Chilean capital to complain about delays in an education overhaul.

Thursday's protests were mostly peaceful. Students waved flags, chanted slogans and danced in the streets to the beats of drums asking President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education.

But the marches ended with clashes between police and hooded vandals who often infiltrate the protests.

Chile's schools were free before Gen. Augusto Pinochet pushed privatization and ended central control and funding of primary and secondary schools during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

Public education in poorer districts suffered even as a voucher system directed billions of dollars in public funds to privately-run high schools.

Many Chilean families bore these burdens for years before student gave them a voice.