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AMÉRICA ECONOMÌA, THE SANTIAGO TIMES (Chile)

Worldcrunch

SANTIAGO - A total of 139 people, most of whom were students, were arrested during the eviction of three schools in the center of Santiago, the local Chief of Police Victor Tapia told América Economìa.

The three schools (Darío Salas School, Miguel de Cervantes and Confederación Suiza School) had been occupied for a week by Chilean students fighting for reforms, including free education – demands that have not been heard by Sebastián Piñera’s government so far.

“We are here for a number of reasons,” 14-year-old Joaquín Merino told The Santiago Times. “We’re here to fight the Hinzpeter Law that would criminalize protests, we’re here to ask for free education and we’re here because the minimum wage isn’t enough to pay for education. In Chile, it’s not that the quality of education isn’t good, it’s just not available to all.”

The evacuations were ordered by Santiago Mayor Pablo Zalaquett after Thursday’s failed negociations with the student’s representatives.

Watch footage of the evictions at the Miguel de Cervantes college below.

Students refused to voluntarily leave the school premises and had to be dispersed with tear gas and water hoses, The Santiago Times reports, causing much anger among human rights associations.

Students protesting for free education met with police water cannons in #Santiago#Chilebuff.ly/OO7NJH

— Human Rights Channel (@ythumanrights) August 9, 2012

Chief of Police Victor Tapia ruled out that there had been excessive violence on part of police officers, as he told América Economìa that officers had been pelted with stones and that "the use of force was needed."

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