Chileans Strike for Education Reform

Posted August 24th, 2011 at 5:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Protesters have barricaded streets and burned tires in Chile's capital, Santiago, amid a 48-hour strike to press for education reform.

Police and protesters clashed Wednesday, as the government tried to shut down demonstrations in some parts of the city.

Reports from Santiago say business in most parts of the city was un-interrupted, with public transportation continuing to function and traffic flowing through most streets.

The strike was called by Chile's main labor union, CUT, in support of students who have been protesting for weeks for education reform and an overhaul of educational funding. In addition, strike organizers have called for tax reform and constitutional change.

There have also been large-scale protests against conservative President Sebastian Pinera.

President Pinera announced cuts in the education budget earlier this year. The president has called on students to reach a negotiated solution with the government based on 21 proposals he presented, but no agreement has been finalized.

The Chilean leader also faces sagging approval ratings.

The last time Chileans held a two-day national strike was during the rule of General Augusto Pinochet, who held power from 1973 until 1990.