World: Protesters mark a month that shook Chile - - PressFrom - US
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World Protesters mark a month that shook Chile

04:15  19 november  2019
04:15  19 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

Anger at out-of-touch elite stoking Chile protests

  Anger at out-of-touch elite stoking Chile protests They send their children to the same schools, vacation in the same lakeside resorts, and marry into each others' families. Two-thirds of the members of Pinera's cabinet -- until he announced a reshuffle to try to appease protesters -- were educated at six exclusive schools in Chile, according to Matamala, a proportion only marginally altered after the reshuffle. - Impunity-So much of the anger spilling daily onto the streets since October 18 has been stoked by a popular feeling that the business and political elite have emerged unscathed from a wave of high profile corruption cases.

Many in Chile see this step -- getting rid of a charter that smacks of a dark, repressive chapter in the country's past -- as a way to help end the crisis. It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month .

Many in Chile see this step -- getting rid of a charter that smacks of a dark, repressive chapter in the country's past -- as a way to help end the crisis. It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month .

Stone-throwing Chilean demonstrators on Monday marked a month of furious, near daily street demonstrations that have roiled the country and signalled an overhaul of the country's social and economic model.

Dozens blinded by police shots in Chile protests

  Dozens blinded by police shots in Chile protests Running away as shots rang out, Carlos Vivanco turned to see where they were coming from. Then he felt his left eye closing and his face dripping with blood. The 18-year-old student had become one of scores of people hit in the eyes, and in some cases blinded, by police rubber bullets in Chile's recent wave of anti-government protests. Police have fired tear gas, water cannons and rubber shot cartridges. Vivanco was hurt during the first week of the protests, when President Sebastian Pinera sent soldiers onto the streets."They wanted to cause me pain, shame, regret, fear," says Vivanco at his house in the suburb of La Pintana near the capital Santiago.

Public prosecutors in Chile are investigating more than 1,000 cases of alleged abuses, ranging from torture to sexual violence, by the police and military. It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month .

Many in Chile see this step -- getting rid of a charter that smacks of a dark, repressive chapter in the country's past -- as a way to help end the crisis. It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month .

Chanting "Chile has woken up!", around 3,000 demonstrators gathered in Santiago's Plaza Italia, the epicenter of the protests which at one point drew more than a million people onto the streets of the Chilean capital.

Some fought running battles with riot-police who used tear gas and rubber bullets against youths who threw molotov-cocktails.

"I came to commemorate a month that changed Chile forever," said Susana, a 51-year-old accountant at the protest.

"I think the government could make the changes we are demanding much faster. I don't believe Pinera," she said, referring to conservative President Sebastian Pinera.

Chileans to vote on new constitution in response to protests

  Chileans to vote on new constitution in response to protests Chile said Friday it will hold a referendum to replace the country's dictatorship-era constitution -- a key demand of protesters after nearly a month of violent civil unrest. The announcement sent the stock market soaring over eight percent -- the biggest daily rise in a decade -- and sparked a recovery by the peso, which was up 3.2 percent. Lawmakers in Chile's National Congress agreed early Friday to hold the vote in April 2020 after hours of intense negotiations between the governing coalition and opposition parties.

Related Topics. Chile protests . Image copyright Reuters. Image caption Protesters are calling for social reforms and a change to the constitution. Protesters are demanding social reforms and a change to the constitution which dates back to the pre-democracy era of the military leader, Augusto

Chile 's president has acknowledged that "abuses and crimes were committed" by police during weeks of unrest that has left more than 20 people dead. Pinera has resisted calls for his resignation, instead promising reform.

What began with high school students refusing to pay a subway ticket hike on October 18 resulted in the deepest social crisis in the South American country since the return of democracy in 1990.

"The street has forced the entire Chilean political class to do in a few hours what it did not want to do for 30 years," said Marcelo Mella, a political scientist at the University of Santiago.

"This is proof that it was possible to do more than what has been done so far," said Mella.

The protests have forced a re-think of the conservative billionaire president's right-wing agenda.

"In the last four weeks, Chile has changed. Chileans have changed, we have all changed," Pinera said Sunday.

Lawmakers last week bowed to one of the protesters' key demands, agreeing to hold a referendum next April to change the country's dictatorship-era constitution.

However, despite forcing the elite to sit up and take notice, the most pressing problems -- revamping the pension system, quality public health and education -- remain untouched.

France’s yellow vest movement marks 1 year of protests

  France’s yellow vest movement marks 1 year of protests Police are deployed around key sites in Paris as France’s yellow vest protesters prepare to mark the first anniversary of their sometimes-violent movement for economic justice. © Provided by The Associated Press French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he waits for EU Council President-elect Charles Michel at the Elysee Palace Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) Protesters hope to breathe new life into the yellow vest movement with actions Saturday around the capital and at traffic circles around the country.

Many in Chile see this step -- getting rid of a charter that smacks of a dark, repressive chapter in the country's past -- as a way to help end the crisis. It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month .

Protesters in Chile on Friday. The agreement could help end nearly a month of sometimes violent political unrest. The latest poll from Cadem asserted that 78% of Chileans wanted a new constitution, while a constitutional assembly was the most popular mechanism through which to achieve this.

A weekend opinion poll showed 67 percent of Chileans see the agreement on the constitutional referendum as "positive."

With much of the heat has been taken out of the protests, demonstrators are divided between those who want to return to normality and those who want to keep up the pressure on the government, calling for faster and broader reforms.

- Dark chapter -

"The street gave a lesson to all those who, without realizing it, had replaced their hope with resignation. The people have moved the boundaries of democracy," said Catalina Perez, a lawmaker with the leftist Democratic Revolution party from the city of Antofagasta.

Replacing a constitution that resonates of a dark, repressive chapter in the country's past has been a key demand of protesters.

The current charter has been changed numerous times but has never established the state's responsibility to provide education and health care.

"The constitutional process will last two years, with several electoral milestones. This can help channel differences and moderate expectations," according to political analyst Juan Luis Monsalve.

Chile's president condemns police violence after four weeks of unrest

  Chile's president condemns police violence after four weeks of unrest President Sebastian Pinera condemned on Sunday for the first time what he called abuses committed by police in dealing with four weeks of violent unrest that have rocked Chile. © CLAUDIO REYES Chilean President Sebastian Pinera addresses the nation in Santiago "There was excessive use of force. Abuses and crimes were committed, and the rights of all were not respected," the president said in a speech to the nation as it marked a month of turmoil that has left 22 people dead and more than 2,000 injured.

Many in Chile see this step -- getting rid of a charter that smacks of a dark, repressive chapter in the country's past -- as a way to help end the crisis. It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month .

- ' Chile has changed' -. Pinera praised an agreement reached last week under which Chile will draft a new constitution to replace the current one that dates back to the It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month .

"We are all aware that we were in a straitjacket with this hereditary and petrified Constitution," said former center-left president Ricardo Lagos, who managed to forge a broad political consensus during his 2000-2006 presidency to remove the most undemocratic articles in the constitution.

- 'Excessive' force -

Long seen as a haven of political and economic stability in volatile South America, the wave of unrest has killed 22 people.

Most died in fires during looting, but five were killed at the hands of the security forces. More than 2,000 people were wounded.

Rights groups have pointed to some 200 people who received serious eye injuries, including dozens who were blinded, by rubber bullets fired at the head by security forces.

Pinera recognized for the first time in a television address on Sunday that abuses had been committed by the police in dealing with the unrest.

"There was excessive use of force. Abuses and crimes were committed, and the rights of all were not respected," he said, ensuring that there would be "no impunity."

Accusations of police brutality and human rights violations have been levelled since the protests broke out, prompting the United Nations to send a team to investigate. Amnesty International has also sent a mission.

Since October 18, more than 15,000 arrests have taken place, including 3,500 for looting, according to a report released Monday by the police. A total of 5,300 acts of violence were perpetrated by the demonstrators.

US retailer Walmart has filed a suit against the Chilean state for damage caused to its stores, 28 of which were looted, 34 burned and 17 completely destroyed.

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