Violent clashes in new round of Chile protests

An anti-government protest in Santiago on Friday.   | Photo Credit: AP

Thousands of protesters clashed with police on Friday in Santiago in a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations that erupted more than two months ago in Chile.

The rally took place in the Plaza Italia, which has since October 18 become the epicentre of massive citizen protests against President Sebastian Pinera’s right-wing government. Police entered the square in mid-afternoon and dispersed demonstrators with water cannon and tear gas. But after almost two hours of confrontations, thousands of protesters finally occupied the plaza, according to AFP reporters. “We are going to continue in the struggle until Pinera gives in to the people’s demands,” said Luis Rojas, 46.

Authorities have been trying to restore calm in downtown Santiago, which has been roiled by a crisis that initially erupted over metro fare hikes but quickly escalated into the most severe outbreak of social unrest since the end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet nearly 30 years ago. Chileans have taken to the streets to register their anger over inequality and particularly to vent at the elites that control much of the country’s wealth.

Friday’s demonstration occurred the same day Mr. Pinera signed a decree calling for a plebiscite on April 26 to decide whether to replace the current constitution, which dates back to Pinochet's rule.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:05:16 AM |

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