August 5, 2011
It began as a series of peaceful protests calling for reform of the Chilean government’s education system, with students staging mass kiss-ins, dressing up in superhero costumes and running laps around the presidential palace. But on Thursday these surreal protests exploded into violence as school and university students clashed with police and seized a TV station, demanding the right to a live broadcast in order to express their demands.
The Chilean winter, as it is being called, appears to have captured the public mood, just as the Arab spring did six months ago.
After a day of street clashes, 874 people had been arrested and department store in the capital was smouldering after being attacked by protesters. Outrage against the rightwing government of SebastiÃ n PiÃ±era boiled over, with polls showing he is more unpopular than any leader since the fall of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.