Chilean students protest in capital in early test for President Boric

SANTIAGO, March 25 (Reuters) - Thousands of students marched through the Chilean capital on Friday demanding higher food stipends, the first organized demonstration under former protest leader President Gabriel Boric.

Police shot one student who was stable after being treated in a hospital, Manuel Monsalves, subsecretary of the interior, told a news conference. Monsalves said there would be an investigation into the shooting.

Around 640,000 students who receive 32,000 Chilean pesos ($41) a month to subsidize food want that raised.

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Although the protest was mostly peaceful, police fired water cannons, and hooded agitators clad in black set street fires and vandalized bus stops. They also attacked a Chilean Air Force pick-up truck stuck in traffic with rocks and metal pipes. The government confirmed that three air force officials were injured and treated in a hospital.

The demonstration was smaller than the violent protests that gripped the capital in 2019 and led to the drafting of a new constitution.

With a former student protest leader at the helm of the government, protesters said there was more restraint from both police and students despite sparks of violence.

"Deep down the citizenry acted differently, most of all towards police," said Andres Calfuqueo, a 21-year-old political science student at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile who also protested in 2019.

Calfuqueo said police kept their distance and only responded to attacks.

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Reporting by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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