Colombia Student Protests: Thousands Strike, 15 Arrested (PHOTOS)

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Police in Colombia's capital have fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse rioters after a mostly peaceful student protest against an education reform bill. Bogota police report 15 arrests.

According to the BBC, between 20,000 and 30,000 people marched through Bogota in protest of the government's plan, which students say would open the door to privatization of public universities.

Thousands of students had launched a national strike in major cities Wednesday, saying the bill would privatize higher education.

Government officials say that's not the case. They say the bill would allow tens of thousands more young people to go to university.

Colombia's El Tiempo online reports that thirteen windows were broken during the protests, and many buildings, including the Palacio de Justicia, Colombia's high court, were graffitied.

Authorities in Colombia's western city of Cali say a 19-year-old former student died near student marches when explosives that he was carrying went off. It is unclear whether the incident was related to the student marches.

Bogota Student Protests