Friday, August 26, 2011

Muchos Paros

I should have blogged about this a long time ago. For the past couple of months university students have been on strike because of the cost of education. (More on that later.)  Now I feel I am so far behind I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll start with happened most recently.

I don’t feel like paraphrasing, so I’m just going to quote the article I read on the Guardian website:

            “What began three months ago as a series of isolated classroom boycotts by high school and university students demanding improvements in education has grown into a mass movement calling for fundamental change in Chile’s topdown form of government.”

That brings us to the events of the past two days.  On Wednesday and Thursday of this week there was a Paro Nacional, Spanish for ‘national strike’.  Joining the students already on strike, more than 80 unions banded together to protest a growing list of complaints against the government. Among those on strike were many transportation workers. This threatened to put the city in a stand still.

As people took to the streets for a peaceful protest, the streets were lined with pacos (Chilean slang for the police officers) dressed in riot gear. Of course while all this was happening I was at work in the middle of a science lesson. So I’m not exactly sure at what time things went sour. But at some point, some protesters decided breaking things and lighting things on fire would be a better way to get their point across. However, I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people resorting to violence and destruction care very little about the strike. But rather they see this as an opportunity to act out in an uncivilized manner.

Anyway, I’m not sure what the results of the strike are. But here are some photos of the protest. And if you think I took these photos then you don’t listen read very well. I wasn’t at the protest. I was teaching kids about the solar system.

Why so serious?

The riot police is quite fond of tear gas.

This doesn't look good.

Neither does this one. 
Pacos are equally fond of water cannons.

1 comment:

  1. ----Official welcome to the 28th (apologies unknown country) and 29th (Bosnia and Herzegovina) flags to join the MoaG community. (was given official greeter status during the last blog - sorry I missed you #28)

    Yikes! Glad you were in the classroom.

    I look forward to hearing more of your perceptions as this goes forward.
    It would seem that the addition of 80 unions could be both a good and a bad thing for the students. On one hand there are more people involved with the influence and experience that the unions can bring. On the other had the message and goals of the students could be diluted or subsumed by so many groups that may have, and pursue, their own agendas.

    I hope you continue to follow this and offer an update of your thoughts and insights as things develop.