Students from Liceo María Luisa Bombal of Rancagua, Chile detained after taking control of school

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Liceo María Luisa Bombal of Rancagua.
Image: Arsenalero.

San Fernando, Chile — Ten students from the Liceo María Luisa Bombal of Rancagua, O'Higgins Region were detained by the local police yesterday. Following their release, the students told the media they were required to remove their clothes at the police station.

The students, seven men and three women, took control of the building of the school early yesterday morning in response to the long delay in re-construction of the liceo, following the earthquake of 2010. At around 08:00 local time (1200 UTC), Leonardo Fuentes, general secretary of the Municipal Educational Corporation of Rancagua, authorized the police to clear out the students.

Pedro Larraín in October 2011.
Image: Diego Grez.

Student leader Jennifer Olivares told Diario VI Región the police "stripped off [their] clothes"((es)) upon their arrival at the police station, Comisaría de Rancagua, something which Lieutenant Colonel of Carabineros Iván Guajardo did not deny. However, police stated the students will be charged by the public prosecutor with robbing food from the school. "It's a bit illogical that they stripped off our clothes, with the knowledge that there were minors and without [us] being delinquents, but students who took the school peacefully"((es)), said Olivares. Ignacio Muñoz, former leader of the occupation of the Liceo María Luisa Bombal, told El Rancahuaso "the Mayor [Eduardo Soto] promised to begin the reconstruction works last summer, and it's August already and they don't even begin to take the debris outside"((es)). Education Regional Secretary (Seremi de Educación) Pedro Larraín said the government "does not share"((es)) such actions, "because they harm education"((es)).

The Region of Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins was one of the first in 2012 to resuscitate the previous year's student protests, more specifically at the Liceo Industrial de San Fernando, which was taken control by the students in late July, and which as of yesterday was still taken. The students of the Liceo Industrial were particularly affected, after the president of the school's centro de alumnos Guillermo Horta Farías was stabbed outside the educational establishment on July 31; his fellow schoolmates subsequently organized a march in his honour in Rancagua, on August 8. As of August 11, eight high schools have been taken control of by students, in response to the government's failure to satisfy the secondary and university students' requests.


Sources

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