Conflicts & War

Massive march in Chile ahead of 2nd protests anniversary

Santiago de Chile, Oct 15 (EFE).- At least 1,000 people demonstrated Friday in the center of Santiago de Chile three days before the two-year mark of social protests that shook the country and began a constituent process.

The march was called through social media and concentrated in the Plaza Italia in the capital, the epicenter of that wave of protests that at its peak, on Oct. 25, 2019, drew more than 1 million people.

The Friday demonstration was peaceful, with chants, drums and music, although there were some barricades, street fires and vehicular traffic had to be cut.

Attendees proclaimed slogans for the freedom of the people detained during the 2019 protests and called for the resignation of the country’s President Sebastian Pinera.

The movement against Chile’s neoliberal model, the most serious wave of protests since the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), left about 30 dead, thousands injured and many arrests over episodes of extreme violence, vandalism, looting and fires, among others.

The police and the army were called into question and accused of exercising repression and violating human rights to quell protests.

“Blood was spilled here and the government lied to the people when it said they were criminals. They were not criminals, they just thought differently,” Marcelo Catrillanca, father of Mapuche community member Camilo Catrillanca, killed in a police operation, told EFE.

“That is why I am here, to tell the people that I am with the people and tell the State of Chile that it is making a mistake,” he added.

According to figures from the prosecutor’s office and the country’s human rights institute compiled by Amnesty International, there had been more than 8,000 victims of alleged state violence since March 2021 and more than 400 cases of eye trauma as a result of the police’s actions to contain protests.

The constituent process currently taking place in the country was the political path parliamentarians found to ease the social crisis.

The Constituent Convention that works on the new constitution was established in July to draft the document before May 2022. The current constitution has stood since the military dictatorship and is seen as the origin of serious inequalities for which the protests took place. EFE

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