Students decry Carabineros violence during protest

SANTIAGO – Students of Universidad Iberoamericana criticized Carabineros de Chile for excessive violence. The confrontation occurred last Thursday on Padre Miguel Olivares street, where students set up roadblocks to protest the closure of the university, and the non-payment of workers’ salaries. One student suffered serious injuries due to pellets fired by Carabineros.

During a student protest outside Universidad Iberoamericana, on Padre Miguel Olivares street, one student sustained serious injuries. Students took to the streets to demonstrate against the crisis at the university and demanding the start of classes, which have remained suspended. They also demanded the institute pay the outstanding salaries of faculty and employees.

The university’s students federation criticized Carabineros de Chile for allegedly using excessive force. Paz Gajardo, president of the federation, told Radio ADN “We are protesting again because we are in this situation since the beginning of the year. We haven’t been able to start the academic term, so we have been forced to protest.

“This time Carabineros crossed the line, they shot five pellets at a classmate. We had to take her to a medical assistance center,” Gajardo added. Carabineros de Chile, according to Radio Agricultura, didn’t refer to any injured persons and explained they acted to restore traffic flow. They added that they haven’t received any denouncements yet for injured people.

Crisis at the university

Chile’s education ministry (Mineduc) confirmed that the closure of Universidad Iberoamericana is unavoidable. Mineduc expects the situation getting even worse. The ministry said plans exist to relocate the students according to their study subject to other universities, including Universidad de Santiago.

A group of Iberoamericana employees demanded the closure of the university, due to the lack of payment. The employees won their case in court and the head of the Higher Education Division, Juan Eduardo Vargas, explained that this result will worsen the closure process and threaten the agreement with Universidad de Santiago.

Juan Manuel Zolezzi, rector of Universidad de Santiago, considers the immediate closure of Universidad Iberoamericana problematic, because key for signing the agreement was having time to develop academic activities. Zolezzi cautioned that Universidad de Santiago doesn’t have enough space to host more students.

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