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Last Updated: Wednesday May 31 2006 12:48 GMT

500,000 pupils on strike in Chile

Students in Chile
At least 500,000 kids in Chile took to the streets on Wednesday to call for big changes to their schools.

Hundreds of schools across the country have been closed by the strike and police have used tear gas and water cannons to break up crowds of children.

The kids want to change what is taught in schools, scrap fees for taking exams and be given free public transport.

Talks between government officials and student leaders have been going on since Tuesday.

Protests began weeks ago when students took over a number of schools in Chile's capital Santiago, and the strike spread across the country.

Lots of teachers agree with their pupils that there needs to be a big change in what is taught in Chilean schools.

The kids also want to scrap the 21 fee for university entrance exams, a charge many poorer kids can't afford.

Reports say the daughter of Chile's President Michelle Bachelet will be joining her classmates on the strike.



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