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By Vittorio Hernandez
The protest movement that started in the Middle East and north Africa is spreading to other nations as people complain of poor governance and economic hardship under their leaders.
The latest to be hit by widespread protests and violence are Spain and Chile.
The Spanish protestors are demonstrating against the weak economy and high unemployment rate in the country, which is at 21.3 percent.
Among those under 25 years old, the joblessness rate is 44.6 percent, which explains why majority of the demonstrators are young people.
The protests started mid-May and spread to other Spanish cities.
Violence broke out when protesters attempted to storm the Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid, but they were stopped by over 200 police who were deployed in the area to close the square for the third straight day.
The demonstrators moved to the Plaza de Ciebeles and gathered outside the Interior Ministry on Paseo de la Castellana to air their grievances, but police vehicles and riot police charged into the crowd. The scuffle injured 20 people, including seven police officers.
Similar to the situation in Madrid, students who sought reforms in the country's educational system led the protest in Chile. The rallies have been going on for several weeks as the youth demanded higher level of government investment in the sector.
Although Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has promised to increase funding through a 21-point package of reforms, student leaders said his offer was not sufficient. The government allocates 4.4 percent of the country's gross national product for education, which is less than the 7 percent recommended by Unesco.
Chilean riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protests held at the Plaza Italia in Santiago City. Two police officers were hurt in the dispersal operation, while at least 130 students were arrested.
Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter warned the students that their rallies were illegal and they would be dealt with force.
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