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Thousands of students protest in Santiago, Chile

News Santiago de Chile, Chile - 16 May 2012

Thousands of students demonstrated on the streets of Chile's capital on May 16 2012, seeking an overhaul of what they call one of the world's priciest and most unfair educational systems.

The students, joined by some parents and professors, thronged the Plaza Italia square, following up on more than 40 demonstrations last year against the system which is a legacy of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

They marched, singing and chanting, through Santiago streets to a cultural center for a closing ceremony.

Students, backed by professors and labor unions, are demanding that President Sebastian Pinera's conservative government overhaul the education system to guarantee free, quality public education for all Chileans.

Until now, student loan interest rates have topped six percent but the government has pledged to reduce them to two percent and only allow students to have to pay a maximum of 10 percent of their salary a year in loan reimbursements once they are in the working world.

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