The protests to mark the 48th anniversary of the military coup by dictator Augusto Pinochet against the government of socialist Salvador Allende in Chile had incidents between protesters and police.
With flags from Chile, the Communist Party and other left-wing political groups, hundreds of people marched near La Moneda Palace – in downtown Santiago – to leave flowers at the monument to Allende, who committed suicide amidst the military bombing Pinochet ordered against the seat of the Chilean government on September 11, 1973. The attack ended the socialist president’s term.
The coup gave way to one of the bloodiest dictatorships in Latin America, led by Pinochet for 17 years, in which more than 3,200 people died or disappeared while around 40,000 were tortured, according to official data.
“It’s a painful September 11th, as we are again experiencing human rights violations, but also hopeful because all of Chile and the world are plagued by celebrations so that these violations never happen again,” said Lorena Pizarro, president of the Association of Detainees and Missing from Chile.
Demonstration in Santiago commemorates the 48th anniversary of Pinochet’s coup against Salvador Allende — Photo: AFP/Martín Bernetti
Thousands of people marched along Alameda, Santiago’s main avenue, causing some destruction and fires at public transport points, as well as looting stores.
The protesters went to the city’s General Cemetery, on a pilgrimage that takes place every year, where again there were clashes with the police, who dispersed the crowd with water and tear gas launchers. At least six people were arrested.
The commemoration of September 11 this year takes place in the context of the presidential election of November 21 and also the drafting of a new Constitution that should replace the current one – inherited from the dictatorship -, a task in charge of 155 constituents who have one year to draft. there.
“The Constitutional Convention must be in charge of the guarantees of non-repetition (of human rights violations) and of the Armed Forces and the Police,” added Pizarro.
Dozens of military personnel and agents of the dictatorship were convicted in Chile of crimes committed during the dictatorship, while Italian justice in August requested the extradition of three former soldiers for the murder of two Italians during the Pinochet regime.