Teenager killed in Chile protests
A 14 year-old boy has died after he was shot in an eastern suburb of Santiago during two-day protests over education reforms. Tens of thousands took to the streets Wednesday and Thursday in a general strike that shut down the capital.
According to witnesses, Manuel Gutierrez was shot in the chest while crossing a foot bridge. His family has blamed police for the fatal shooting.
Around 175,000 people around Chile participated in the protests, with more than 50,000 in downtown Santiago.
Demonstrators fought police with stones, sticks and firearms, and set bonfires to block access to major roads.
On Wednesday, 36 people were wounded, including 42 police officers. Six of them suffered gunshot wounds.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has called for an immediate dialogue between students, teachers, parents and the government in order to breach the impasse.
“A protest march is one thing, it is quite another thing to attempt to paralyze the country,” Pinera said, “When the country is paralyzed, nobody wins, everybody loses.”
The two-day protests are part of larger demonstrations in Chile that began three months ago. Protesters want an elimination of a voucher system that supports private universities, and are demanding a free and equal education to all Chileans. Wednesday and Thursday’s demonstrations added improved working conditions for hospital and emergency workers to their demands.