Deaths in Chile student protests

Two students die in city of Valparaiso as tens of thousands protest against government education policy.

Two students have been killed in Chile amid massive demonstrations across the country against government education policy.

The deaths on Thursday came in the city of Valparaiso, about 125km west of the capital Santiago, when demonstrators trying to post pamphlets on the outer walls of a home were shot by the son of the owners.

Police said they had arrested the shooter.

Students and university professors have been marching in Valparaiso and Santiago demanding reforms to the education system.

The protesters want more of a say in how the government makes good on reform pledges, such as making university studies free for poorer students and instituting performance reviews for teachers.

Organisers said around 150,000 people marched in the capital but police put the figure at 50,000, the AFP news agency reported.
Demonstrators clashed with police at the end of the march in Santiago, and more than 130 people were arrested, according to security officials.

The protests came four days after President Michelle Bachelet overhauled her cabinet, as she faces a plummeting approval rating. Among other woes, her eldest son Sebastian has been named in an influence peddling scandal.

Chile has previously witnessed mass student protests in 2013 over rising tuition costs and poor teaching standards.

Source: AFP