Photo Essay – A Clash of Classes: Chilean Students Fight for a Better Education System

Demonstrators sell lemons to ease tear gas symptoms during confrontations with the Carabineros, the Chilean police force.

The University of Chile central campus serves as the central headquarters for student activities since it is on the same block as the Presidential Palace, La Moneda. The banner says, “The struggle is of the whole society. Everyone for free education.” Since May of this year Chilean students took to the streets asking for extensive educational reforms to change a system that plagued the country with a wide income inequality gap. High school students and university students took over school campuses and continually gained momentum and support. Now, as the school year approaches, authorities butt heads with students who refuse to make concessions to the neoliberal educational system implemented during the Pinochet dictatorship.

Chairs and desks blocking school entrances signaling that a schools is in ‘toma’ (‘taken’) by students.

Flyers of former Social Democratic President Michelle Bachelet saying “Where are they?”

Demonstration in downtown September 22 – a demonstrator holds up a sign saying ‘Understand Piñera that Education is Free’.

Demonstration down a main Avenue with police authorities walking along side.

Mothers and fathers march in support of the student movement – a mother holds a sign saying ‘I prefer a whole year lost than a child without a conscience’

Demonstration with people dressed in artistic costumes – a man dressed up as a greedy business man holds a sign saying ‘Dictatorship of the Firm’

Demonstrators dress up and dance along the way.

Mothers of the ‘disappeared’ during the dictatorship ask for justice holding up pictures of political prisoners and disappearances during the Pinochet regime.

The Carabineros, the Chilean police force, lines up in front of a student demonstration blocking them from marching forward.

A student approached a Chilean policeman, asking them to stop provoking violence with a hostile presence and attitude.

Violence breaks out at the end of a demonstration where Molotov cocktails were thrown at authorities and masked demonstrators burned an American flag defaced with skulls and bones.

Demonstrators sell lemons to ease tear gas symptoms during confrontations with the Carabineros.

Police men arrest a peaceful demonstrator.

Masked demonstrators throw rocks at police vehicles nicknamed ‘guanacos’ after the species of llamas who spits with angry.

Authorities with water guns and tear gas confront masked demonstrators, called ‘encapuchados’, literally meaning ‘hooded’.

Policemen drive around the Santiago General Cemetery trying to arrest demonstrators during the September 11th annual pilgrimage.

Shalini Adnani is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Santiago, Chile.