Socialist Worker

Over one million ‘rise up’ on the streets of Chile

by Gabby Thorpe
Issue No. 2678

Protesters in Santiago

Protesters in Santiago (Pic: Carlos Figueroa/Wikimedia commons)

Over a million people took to the streets of Chile’s capital Santiago last weekend.

Demonstrators are ­demanding the resignation of president Sebastian Pinera and the ­implementation of a new constitution.

The protests have already forced Pinera to sack his cabinet—and he says that he will restructure the government to “confront demands”.

He said he hoped the protests will “open hopeful new paths into the future”.

But Pinera has not outlined any plans to make significant changes. And the protests are not likely to stop.


A poll published by Chilean research institute Cadem, showed that 80 percent of Chileans did not think that reforms would go far enough.

Pinera declared a state of emergency when demonstrations started over metro fare increases. The scale of the revolt against the fare rise forced the government to scrap it.

But the protests quickly ­generalised—and have faced fierce repression.

Police and soldiers attacked the protests with tear gas. At least 470 people have been shot, and 19 people have died during protests across the country.

Five of those deaths have been confirmed to have been caused by armed forces. The number of those injured could be much higher.

Izkia Siches, president of the Chilean Medical Association, said, “There is a substantial ­under-reporting of the injured and also a lack of counselling for many victims to denounce the violation of their rights.”

She demanded that the full number of those injured be released.

United Nations human rights investigators were set to arrive in Chile on Tuesday of this week to look into the violence against demonstrators.

Speaking in London last weekend, Chilean revolutionary ­socialist Mario Nain said, “We need to move from ­challenging a particular leader to challenging the capitalist state system.”

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