Since May, students have led public protests in Chile demanding more affordable tuition in a country that has some of the highest tuition fees and weakest financial aid programmes in the world.

Demonstrators deny allegations by government officials that the once-peaceful movement has been hijacked by political factions that authorities are calling the “extreme Left.” Activists have countered with allegations of police brutality, saying the government’s response to the crowds has been repressive and heavy-handed.

Protest leaders had earlier rejected proposed talks with the government, saying it did not commit to increasing public spending on higher education.

After an education subcommittee rejected parliament’s proposed 2012 budget late last month, officials are expected to meet again, this time with concessions in hand. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera may be ready to offer as much as $1.2 billion for education, in the coming year.

Beyond educational reforms, protesters are also demanding change in Chile’s environmental, trade, energy and labour policies.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Chilean Congressman José Manuel Edwards of the conservative National Renewal Party and Elizabeth Rivera, a citizen journalist who has been covering the student protest movement for Global Voices Online.

What do you think of the progress of Chile's student protests? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #AJStream.

These are some of the social media elements featured in this episode of The Stream: