Tens of thousands of students, university workers, and professors marched in Santiago along Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins on Tuesday, September 5, in protest against the proposed Bill on State Universities. Isolated incidents of violence between police officers and demonstrators were reported. Additional protests are expected in the coming weeks after the bill passed with a 10-1 vote in Congress on Tuesday.
The Confederation of Students of Chile (CONFECH) is protesting against changes in the governance and employment rules of public universities. Similar marches were held by CONFECH in Santiago on June 1 and May 9 against the State Guarantee Credit (CAE) system, which is intended to help students pay for college.
CONFRECH is also calling for the government to forgive the debt of those who have already accepted the loan. The union argues that students are left in significant debt for at least 15 years after accepting the CAE. Higher education reform legislation has been stalled for over nine months in congress.
Individuals in Chile are advised to avoid all protests due to the potential for violence and to be prepared for traffic disruptions in the vicinity of demonstrations.
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