Students Clash With Police in Chile

Protesters clashed with police Monday in Chile's capital as students stepped up demands for reforms to the country's educational system, saying new government concessions didn't go far enough.

Masked demonstrators threw rocks at police and looted stores in the protests, which security forces broke up with tear gas and powerful sprays from water cannons.

Police said 262 people were detained and 23 police officers and five journalists were injured. None of the injuries were believed to be life-threatening.

Chile's public high schools have been paralyzed for three weeks by protests by students who also want financial breaks for poor students and federal intervention to balance out regional differences in educational spending.

The initial government concessions came after violent street protests last week left some 20 people injured, more than 700 arrested and millions of dollars of property damage.

Most students Monday remained in their schools for a "day of reflection."

But more radical sectors of the movement took to the streets, burning tires and attempting to march downtown. Police used water trucks and tear gas to disperse some 1,000 protesters attempting to march to downtown Santiago. Protesters responded by hurling rocks at police vehicles.

University students and unions joined the calls from the high school protesters for increased spending and a role in reforming Chile's education system.

Also, the Education Ministry was shut down as bureaucrats there joined the protest. Other government workers said they supported the student movement but stayed on their jobs, while protesting students halted activities at universities across the country.

A crowd of about 2,000 demonstrators marched on a busy Santiago street late Monday, smashing pharmacy and electronics storefronts and sending commuters scurrying for cover.

Bachelet appeared to have defused the first major crisis of her three-month-old administration last Thursday. She offered students a variety of benefits that will cost Chile some $200 million through next year and to study reforms to Chile's education law.

"The truth is that a strike isn't necessary," Bachelet said Monday.

But students said Bachelet's concessions were not enough, saying they now wanted to participate in drafting the education-system reforms announced by the president.

Student spokeswoman Karina Delfino said protesters were calling for "a new, organic constitutional law, a new educational project" which students, parents and teachers all take part in drafting.