Students clashed with police in Santiago, Chile, as protests demanding education reform turned violent. Students were also enraged about excessive police force used to repress a demonstration in Valparaiso on 21 May. Rodrigo Aviles Bravo, a Universidad Catolica de Santiago student, remains in critical condition with head injuries after he was knocked over by a water cannon.

Chilean police acknowledged their responsibility after video and images were made public, clearly showing that the young man received the full force of powerful blasts from its water cannons.

chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Soledad Bravo, mother of Rodrigo Aviles, a student injured on May 21 following a protest march, takes part in a rally against police violence in ValparaisoRodrigo Garrido/AFP
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Rodrigo Aviles Bravo is pictured during the demonstration in Valparaiso on 21 May, as police fire water cannons to disperse crowdsIvan Alvarado/Reuters

Activists lit bonfires and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police and lit a bonfire on Santiago's main avenue. Riot police again used water cannon to disperse the crowd.

chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
As night fell the protest became more violentCarlos Vera/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Police encountered raging fires on the streetsIvan Alvarado/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
A shop that was set on fire during a rally against police violence is sprayed with a jet of water from a riot police water cannonPablo Sanhueza/Reuters
chile Avils Bravo Valparaso estudiantes
A masked protester hurls stonesMartin Bernetti/AFP
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
A protester attacks a riot police vanIvan Alvarado/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
More protesters use wooden debris to pound a police vanVladimir Rodas/AFP
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Police responded by attempting to disperse protesters with powerful water cannonMartin Bernetti/AFP
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Protesters huddled together holding boards to protect themselves against the water cannonPablo Sanhueza/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Others sought protection behind trees as they filmed the chaosIvan Alvarado/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
The power of the water cannon knocked some protesters to the groundIvan Alvarado/Reuters

Protests for education reform have been raging for years in Chile and often descend into violence.

Amidst the violent demonstrations Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has sought to appease protesters by focusing on reforms.

chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
A spray can blows up in a burning barricade on a street in SantiagoIvan Alvarado/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
An injured man covers his face after being hit by protesters who accused him of stealingPablo Sanhueza/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Police manhandle a protester they have capturedCarlos Vera/Reuters
chile rodrigo Avils Bravo Valparaso estudiantes
A female protester is dragged along the groundVladimir Rodas/AFP
chile Avils Bravo Valparaso estudiantes
Tears of frustration smear the make up of a protester carried off by policeClaudio Reyes/AFP
chile rodrigo Avils Bravo Valparaso
Another protester dragged away by police has lost his top in the meleeVladimir Rodas/AFP
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
Only a dog seems to enjoy the sprayRodrigo Garrido/AFP
chile rodrigo Avils Valparaso estudiantes
A man shields himself with a skateboard from the water cannons right aheadCatherine Allen/Reuters

In her State of the Union address earlier this month, Bachelet vowed to provide free education to the country's poorest students starting next year.

Her bill, to be introduced later in the year, will initially cover 60% of students. But student protesters have vowed to keep up the pressure on Bachelet to demand free education for all.