Chilean police arrest 139 students as protests continue

The wave of student protests in Santiago continued on Thursday, with a fresh series of high school occupations or “tomas.”

In one of the busiest days for Chilean police, 139 protesters were arrested as occupiers were evicted from three different schools. At all three establishments, students refused to voluntarily leave the school premises and had to be dispersed with tear gas and pressurized water hoses early Thursday morning.

This latest outpouring of dissent comes after talks between student leaders and Santiago Mayor Pablo Zalaquett failed to bring about an agreement, as students rejected Zalaquett’s proposals.

“We students don’t like doing this (occupying schools),” Gabriel Boric, president of the Student Federation of Universidad de Chile (FECH) told the press. “But we are convinced that our demands are fair and that’s why we ask the Chilean public to understand us and support us.”

“We know that the struggle is hard and often has costs, but we believe that if we do not try the cost for Chile will be much higher,” he added.