New student protest in Colombia
Colombian college students took to the streets again Wednesday in a new round of nationwide protests against a controversial education reform bill.
"The students' national strike will continue indefinitely
as long as the government doesn't withdraw the bill," Alvaro Forero, a spokesman for the protesters, told local television.
The students complained that they were never consulted during the process to draft an education reform bill proposed by President Juan Manuel Santos, and said the government's main objective is to privatize higher education.
They demanded the government adopt a new reform bill which will benefit students and include them in consultations before submitting the proposed reform to the Congress.
The demonstration caused traffic congestions and led to frequent clashes with police.
Thousands of students began on Oct. 12 to protest against the reform bill that seeks to inject private resources into public universities. Unions complained that the measure would end up reducing teachers' salaries and benefits.
One student died in the latest round of protests after an unidentified man threw an explosive device into the crowd in the city of Cali.
Education Minister Maria Campo has called on students to carry out their protests in "a peaceful way which does not infringe on the rights of the other people."
She also said that the president has ordered the draft reform bill to continue its process in the Congress.