Marches and incidents in Chile one year after the start of the social protests that shook the country


A year after the beginning of the social protests in Chile, a new mobilization brought another day of riots in Santiago. They occur in the vicinity of Plaza Italia, the main scene of the remembered protests that began at the end of 2019.

The images recorded by local media showed a clash between the police and protesters at different points. One of them, in the monument of General Manuel Baquedano, which a group of people vandalized despite the attempt by the security forces to guard the place.

The groups began to meet before noon this Sunday to commemorate the first anniversary of the start of social protests in Chile to demand greater social equality that shook the Government of Sebastián Piñera in the last quarter of 2019.

A drone photograph shows thousands of protesters as they take over Plaza Italia in Santiago today. Photo EFE / Alberto Valdes.

In the country there is great expectation for the way in which this commemoration will end, which takes place a week before the realization of a historic constitutional plebiscite, although a large majority of the population advocates a peaceful commemoration without excesses, according to various polls .

Several social groups, including the College of Teachers, called for a peaceful demonstration to commemorate the first year of what Chile has called the “social outbreak.”

Groups of protesters arrived early in the central Plaza Italia, the epicenter of the demonstrations throughout this year, waving flags, jumping and shouting slogans in favor of a social mobilization to carry out profound social reforms.

The square woke up guarded by carabineros (militarized police) and armored cars, reported the AFP news agency.

People demonstrate in the Plaza Italia in Santiago (Chile), popularly renamed as "Dignity Square".  Photo EFE / Elvis González.

People demonstrate in the Plaza Italia in Santiago (Chile), popularly renamed “Plaza Dignidad”. Photo EFE / Elvis González.

The Government of Piñera, strongly questioned since this crisis began, the most important in 30 years of democracy, called for a peaceful demonstration and respecting the health measures imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which in Chile has left almost 490,003 infections and 13,588 confirmed deaths.

In various sectors there is fear that the images of October 18, 2019, could be repeated, when there was a call from high school students to make evasions in the payment of the subway whose rate had increased, and the day ended in a night of fury, with a dozen railway stations burned down, buildings attacked, shops looted and violent clashes with the Police.

That day gave way to continuous mass protests and clashes with the forces of order, which resulted in thousands of injuries and thirty deaths that forced a political agreement to call a plebiscite to find out if the citizens want to change the Constitution inherited from the civic-military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), which after being postponed in April due to the pandemic, will take place next Sunday.


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