A million people march in Chile to protest against the government

Support us and go ad-free

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have marched in Chile’s capital, intensifying pressure on a government struggling to contain deadly unrest over economic hardship.

The huge throng surged toward a central plaza on 25 October as participants blew whistles, banged pots and pans and carried Chilean flags and posters demanding change.

The diverse crowd included students, workers, parents and their children.

“All of Chile is marching here,” Santiago mayor Karla Rubilar said, adding that there was hope as well as sadness among the demonstrators.

According to Chile’s human rights watchdog, more than 2,000 people have been detained and over 500 injured.

The government has declared a state of emergency and imposed curfews in 12 out of Chile’s 16 regions.

The official crowd estimate was one million, the mayor said.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Thousands demonstrated in other parts of the country of 18 million people in a sign that economic concessions by Pinera have failed to ease public anger.

At least 19 people have died in the turmoil that has swept the South American nation.

The unrest began as a protest over an increase in metro fares and soon morphed into a larger movement over growing inequality in one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries.

The lack of leaders and a list of clear demands in the protest movement show the shortcomings of Chile’s unpopular, discredited political parties, said Marta Lagos, head of Latinobarometro, a nonprofit survey group in Chile.

“There is a failure of the system of political parties in its ability to represent society,” Lagos said

Also on Friday, protesters tried to force their way on to the grounds of Chile’s congress, provoking an evacuation of the building.

Police fired tear gas to fend off hundreds of demonstrators on the perimeter as some politicians and administrative staff hurried out of the legislative building, which is in the port city of Valparaiso.

Earlier, truck drivers and some public transport operators went on strike around Santiago.

Chile Protests
A police water cannon sprays anti-government protesters remaining in the streets after sunset in Santiago, Chile (Esteban Felix/AP)

“After what we saw in the streets of Santiago today, it’s hard to imagine a way forward that does not involve the resignation of President Sebastian Pinera and new elections”, said Jenny Pribble, associate professor of political science at the University of Richmond in the United States.

Pinera acknowledged the huge turnout of Chileans, saying they marched peacefully to deliver a call for a fairer and more supportive country.

“We’ve all heard the message. We’ve all changed,” he tweeted.

Chile Protests
An anti-government protester bangs on a pan in front of La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago (Esteban Felix/AP)

Speaking before the huge protest in Santiago, Lagos said she expected protesters to become more organised, and that it was unlikely that Pinera, who took office last year, would resign.

The protests, Lagos said, are bigger than any that occurred during the dictatorship of general Augusto Pinochet decades ago or under democratic governments that followed.

Pinera served an earlier term as president, from 2010 to 2014.

Struggling to contain the strife, Pinera’s administration announced increases in the minimum wage and the lowest state pensions, rolled back the metro fare increase and put a 9.2% increase in electricity prices on hold until the end of next year.

Flanked by elderly Chileans, Pinera signed a measure on 25 October that would raise minimum pensions, an increase that would benefit an estimated 600,000 people.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us