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Student Protests in Chile

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For the past several months, students, teachers, and their supporters in Chile have been staging chaotic demonstrations against their government. Their goal is to transform the country's education system. In particular, they're seeking a referendum to significantly increase the funding and quality of public schools. Students have engaged in multiple forms of protest, from hunger strikes and sit-ins to marches and pillow fights. Smaller groups of protesters have engaged riot police directly, hurling stones and firebombs. Chilean authorities have responded by banning demonstrations, pushing protesters back with water cannons, and offering education proposals that have been rejected. Students in the tens of thousands -- with popular backing across Chile -- continue to march without official permission, and public sentiment against president Sebastian Piñera continues to grow. Collected here are some scenes from the streets of Chile over the past few months. [38 photos]

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People march during a protest by students demanding access to free quality public education in Santiago, Chile, on August 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Aliosha Marquez)
People march during a protest by students demanding access to free quality public education in Santiago, Chile, on August 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Aliosha Marquez)
Students scuffle with riot police outside the Education Minister in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo) #
Riot policemen use a water cannon on student protesters during a rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on August 4, 2011. (Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero) #
Argentine and Chilean students march to the Chilean Consulate in Buenos Aires, on August 5, 2011, repudiating the police repression against Chilean students during demonstrations in Santiago de Chile. (Maxi Failla/AFP/Getty Images) #
Couples show their "passion for education," by sharing a kiss during a gathering of over 500 students in the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile, on July 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Aliosha Marquez) #
A hooded student, with a slingshot hurls stones toward riot police during a rally in Valparaiso, Chile, on June 23, 2011. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
A police officer runs from hooded protestors throwing stones during student demonstrations in Santiago, Chile, on August 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia) #
Demonstrators try to stop a police vehicle armed with a water cannon, during clashes with riot police near the Chilean Congress where President Sebastian Pinera was delivering his State of the Nation address to the National Congress in Valparaiso, Chile, on May 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Vera) #
People attend a students' rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
A masked demonstrator runs from a water canon fired by police during a protest near La Moneda government palace in Santiago, Chile, on June 16, 2011. Thousands of students and professors went on strike and clashed with police during a protest to demand non-discriminatory access to education, and against government plans to reform and privatize part of the Chilean education system. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia) #
Students and dogs are hit by a water cannon during a rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on July 28, 2011. (Reuters/Carlos Vera) #
Students strike pots and pans during an anti-government rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Valparaiso, Chile, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
Students shout during a protest against the government entitled "Mass suicide by education" in Valparaiso, Chile, on June 28, 2011. Students lay down in protest in the streets of the city, demanding changes be made to the state education system. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
A firefighter tries to extinguish a fire engulfing a department store building during a rally in Santiago August 4, 2011. Students had organized the rally to demand changes in the public state education system. Reuters could not confirm whether the fire was started by the protesters. (Reuters/Carlos Vera) #
Riot policemen stand guard during a student rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. The graffiti reads "Chile, you do everything for profit". (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
A student is detained by riot police during to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on August 4, 2011. (Reuters/Carlos Vera) #
A demonstrator prepares to throw a homemade bomb as a police water canon shoots water during a demonstration demanding reforms in Chile's educational system in Santiago, Chile, on June 30, 2011.(AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo) #
Chilean students confront riot police as they are sprayed with a water cannon during a demonstration in downtown Santiago, Chile, on May 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia) #
A demonstrator sits on a sofa next to an overturned car set on fire by fellow demonstrators during riots after a student protest in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Sebastian Silva) #
A student is hit by a jet of water from a riot police vehicle during a rally in downtown Santiago, on June 1, 2011. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
Masked demonstrators stand near a burning barricade in downtown Santiago during rioting after a students protest on August 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Sebastian Silva) #
Students sleep inside the Liceo 1 school during a strike in Santiago, on July 5, 2011. Students participated in the sit-in to continue their ongoing protest demanding improved education standards, lower university fees and free bus passes from Chile's center-right government. (Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero) #
A student of Liceo Dario Salas lies on the ground on the 7th day of their hunger strike in Santiago, on July 27, 2011. Some 29 students from different schools nationwide, were on hunger strikes to demand for changes in the public state education system. (Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero) #
Students throw stones during a protest against the government to demand changes in the public state education system in Valparaiso, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
Riot police run after students during an anti-government rally in Valparaiso, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
Students dressed as superheroes protest against the government in Santiago, on July 18, 2011. (Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero) #
People beat their cooking utensils in a "cacerolazo", a form of loud protest done from one's own home, in support of Chilean students during a rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
Students participate in a massive pillow fight, known as "Pillow fight for a best education", in protest against the government in Valparaiso, on July 13, 2011. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
Students throw stones at a riot police vehicle, which was set alight by a molotov cocktail, during an anti-government rally in Valparaiso, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
Demonstrators take cover from a jet of water during a student protest in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Carlos Vera) #
A masked demonstrator stands near an overturned car set on fire during riots after a student protest in Santiago, on Tuesday, August 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo) #
Students protest in front of and on the roof of a riot police vehicle, which has been vandalized with paint, during an anti-government rally in Valparaiso, on August 4, 2011. (Reuters/Ivan Contreras) #
Demonstrators are sprayed by a water canon during clashes with riot police in Valparaiso, Chile, on May 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo) #
A demonstrator is arrested by riot policemen during a students' rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Carlos Vera Saavedra) #
A student shows wounds after being fired upon by riot police during an anti-government rally in Valparaiso, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez) #
A riot police vehicle releases a jet of water against demonstrators during a student rally in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero) #
A dog jumps as it is hit by a water cannon, used on students staging a rally to demand changes in the public state education system, in Santiago, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Cristobal Saavedra) #
A photographer, after being thrown to the ground and beaten during a student rally in Santiago, Chile, on August 9, 2011. (Reuters/Victor Ruiz Caballero) #

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