By Madhuri Gautam:
One fine morning, Chile witnessed a major event where tens of thousands of students and their supporters marched on the streets of Santiago in order to raise their voice to overhaul and demand improvements in Chile’s public education system. The march amazed people from all over the world because of the fact that the marchers were overwhelmingly peaceful; they were dancing, playing music and jumping around in Chinese Dragon costumes. The day’s protests drew over 150,000 people, according to organizers, while authorities have set the figure to be around 50,000. The ongoing public actions protesting against the Chilean education system were supported by educators and labour unions. The movement demanded the elimination of school fees and called for public schools to be better funded by the state. The protest was also held to demand Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s Government to improve the quality of public education.
But that portrait of serenity was brutally vandalized when several groups of hooded protesters attacked people with sticks and stones. Furthermore, the clashes between the police and the protesters resulted in the usage of tear gas and water cannons to disperse the radical protesters. The march began in a festive atmosphere and dismally ended in mass arrests.
After absorbing the whole piece of news, I was forced to think as to what exactly the reason was behind such merciless proceedings of the police in Chile, against the students. I know that protests are not always a good way to make one’s demands heard by the Government but when the underlying concept of protests is peace, then, why was the innocent student community treated in harsh and acrimonious ways owing to a handful of maniacs? Was the Chilean police’s action justified? Yes? I say no!
It’s evident that no police force in the world has the right to treat people ruthlessly for a crime which they have not committed. According to me it is sad that the students, who think they are blessed with an inherent right to raise their voice against any injustice, suffer because they care to turn their voices into hardcore actions owing to the fact that the Government is doing nothing.
Why punish everyone but not the real culprits? Why force high school students to strip in a police station? Why bombard innocent students with water cannons and tear gas? Why beat them up and torture them physically and mentally? Is this the only way to maintain the so called ‘public order‘? This is an extremely poor and lame excuse given by the police and the government in cases such as these.
As every coin has two sides, the police should not just stand there and watch the lives of people getting destroyed, but save the innocent and put the culprits behind bars. It is absolutely necessary that they imbibe this in themselves. Such protests take place all over the world with the motive to fight against the injustice done to people, but it is sad that these voices are reduced to silent cries, broken hopes and tethered dreams.