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Student demos in Peru turn violent

Protesters faced off with riot police in downtown Lima on Thursday (July 04) as civil servants and university students marched towards the Congress to protest reforms that would impose tougher standards on universities and bureaucrats. Braving tear gas and water canons, protesters lashed out at President Ollanta Humala for proposing the laws, which he says would improve the quality of sluggish government services and a lagging higher-education system. Critics say they would force thousands from their jobs and compromise the autonomy of Peru's universities. Keeping back thousands of angry protesters from the country's Congress, police were accused of using heavy-handed tactics with several injuries reported. Humala, a former military officer, was elected in 2011 as a moderate leftist but critics say he has since drifted to the right towards privatisation.

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