Chilean students stage education protests

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Thousands of students are marching in the streets of the Chilean capital to complain about delays in an education overhaul.

Thursday's protests were mostly peaceful. Students waved flags, chanted slogans and danced in the streets to the beats of drums asking President Michelle Bachelet to fulfill her campaign promise of free education.

But the marches ended with clashes between police and hooded vandals who often infiltrate the protests.

Chile's schools were free before Gen. Augusto Pinochet pushed privatization and ended central control and funding of primary and secondary schools during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

Public education in poorer districts suffered even as a voucher system directed billions of dollars in public funds to privately-run high schools.

Many Chilean families bore these burdens for years before student gave them a voice.

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