2006 Student Protests in Chile

The 2006 student protests in Chile (also known as the Penguins' Revolution or The March of the Penguins, because of the students' uniform) were a series of ongoing student voice protests carried out by high school students across Chile from late April to early June 2006. The protests peaked on May 30 when 790,000 students adhered to strikes and marches throughout the country, becoming Chile's largest student demonstration of the past three decades and the first political crisis of president Michelle Bachelet's administration.

Amongst the students' short-term demands were free travel passes on buses and the waiving of the university admissions test (PSU) fee, while the longer term demands included: the abolition of the Organic Constitutional Act of Teaching (LOCE), the end to municipalization of subsidized education, a reform to the Full-time School Day policy (JEC) and a quality education for all.

On June 1, Bachelet addressed the nation by television, announcing several new measures for education that met most of the student's demands. On June 7 the president announced a 73-member presidential advisory committee - promised by Bachelet on her speech to discuss the students' long-term demands - which included six seats reserved for high school students. Initially hesitant to join the committee, on June 9 the student assembly finally accepted the invitation and called for an immediate end to strikes and school take-overs.

On August 23, around 2,000 students were marching in Santiago and other cities in the country, in protest of the slow speed that the reforms were taking place. The rally eventually got violent when small groups turned away from the peaceful demonstrations and started throwing rocks at the police. The police responded with tear gas and water cannons. More than 200 of the demonstrators were arrested and over a dozen were injured.