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(en) ait russia - Chile: Social riot and cancellation of fare increases [machine translation]

Date Fri, 25 Oct 2019 08:46:32 +0300

Another blow to capitalist neoliberalism and "austerity": mass protests in Chile forced the president to refuse to increase public transport fares. Spontaneous riots and riots in Santiago erupted on October 18; the city turned into an arena of street battles. The authorities responded to the uprising by declaring a state of emergency and sent troops into the streets - for the first time since Pinochet's dictatorship. At first, they promised to compensate for the increase in pay to the "most needy." However, continued protests forced the regime to retreat. ---- The reason for the explosion of indignation was the increase in fares for the metro Santiago from 800 to 830 pesos. The difference was not so great - only 4 euro cents, but this measure was, as they say, the last straw that overflowed the chalice of discontent. Another reason was the increase in electricity charges across the country. On October 19, Radio Bio-Bio recalled the country's prevailing "chronic social inequality, low pensions, and increased electricity and medical fees." Added to this are facts of corruption in the police and the army and repression against the student movement. "All this formed a cocktail that caused the largest social protest of the last decades in our country," Claudia Migno wrote on the radio's website.

Peaceful protests began on October 14. Young people (primarily students) refused to pay entrance fees and began to break into the metro station in different parts of the city; Carabinieri were thrown against the protesters. Solidarity with young people was announced by metro workers. "We, the metro workers, are not enemies of the students, and the students are not enemies of the metro workers," said trade union representative Eric Campos at a October 17 press conference. It is not necessary to agree with the forms of action of the protesters, but the requirements to cancel the increase in fares are completely justified, he confirmed, urging the carabinieri to be removed from the subway and to begin negotiations with students and employees.

By the evening of October 18, the situation began to worsen. Barricades moved to the streets. They grew up on the square of Italy, the avenues of Heroes, Portugal and at various points of the Axis of Alameda. Protesters began to attack buses. So, one of the buses was completely burned by the demonstrators at the intersection of Vicuna McKenna Avenue with Alameda, right in the middle of Italy Square. Then at least three more flared up. With arson, Molotov cocktails were used.

Dissatisfaction quickly went beyond the question of increasing subway fares or indignation at the mocking statement of Minister of Economics Juan Andrés Fontaine, urging people to get up early and enjoy discounts on fare.

Chaos reigned in the capital. By nightfall, there were reports of attacks on electronic access systems for vehicles in Kostanera Norte (they had already been the target of attacks many times before). Then a huge fire swept through the fire escape of the building of the ENEL Corporation on Santa Rosa Avenue, next to Alameda and San Lucia Station. This company supplies electric buses for public transport and has caused widespread dissatisfaction with the recent switch to advanced meters.

Against the backdrop of police repressions against the demonstrators, a monument to the Carabinieri, located a few blocks from Italy Square, and the flag of the Carabinieri were burned.

Initially, the metro stations became the epicenter of the attacks, mainly in Maipu Square. As a result, the interiors were broken with blunt objects, and the shops inside were destroyed. Banks, retailers and various service centers were also defeated. With the onset of night, the metro stations Trinidad, on La Florida, San Jose de la Estrella, Eliza Correa, Pedrero, Los Quillhoes and Santa Julia on the 4th, 4A and 5th metro lines flashed.

In the meantime, those who did not dare to take to the streets staged "pan-concerts" of protest in various quarters of Santiago and even in Iquique and Concepcion.

The capital of Chile was engulfed in fire. After hours of battles between the police and the demonstrators, hundreds of objects were destroyed, 20 metro stations and 16 buses were set on fire.

The authorities initially did not react to protests at all. President Pineda was spotted in one of the restaurants, further reinforcing resentment. Only then did he return to the presidential palace and after midnight declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Santiago, the provinces of Chacabuco, Puente Alto and San Bernardo. He initially defended the decision to increase the fee and only after new arson attacks on the metro on October 19 did he cancel the price increase on Saturday evening, saying that he "heard the voice of his fellow citizens."

But it was too late. Demonstrations, protests and riots spread, and on October 19, authorities imposed a curfew in the capital. This is the first curfew in Chile since the elimination of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1990. It is valid from 22.00 to 7.00. On October 19, protesters in Santiago again set fire to subway trains and buses. A wave of protests spread on Saturday to Valparaiso, Concepcion and Viña del Mar. In the evening of October 20, a state of emergency and curfew were declared, in addition to Santiago, in Valparaiso, the cities and provinces of Concepcion, Antofagasta, Coquimbo, Valdivia and the entire metropolitan area.

During the street battles since Friday, according to the data announced by the president, 78 metro stations were destroyed or damaged. The damage is estimated at 200 million dollars. Subway work on a 140 km stretch. completely discontinued, and it is not known when it will resume. More than 60 supermarkets were destroyed in various cities, at least 6 of them were set on fire. Schools do not work in Santiago on October 21; on weekends, football matches and concerts were canceled. Shops are mostly closed. Santiago Airport stopped working at the end of the week.

The Ministry of Defense reported that more than 10 thousand troops were withdrawn to the streets. On the Internet you can see photos and videos in which a heavily armed soldier preys on demonstrators. Tanks blocked the streets. Responsibility for ensuring security rests with the military. The servicemen immediately began harsh detentions. Protesters throw soldiers with smoke bombs. In some cases, water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse the demonstrators.

In total, from the beginning of the speeches, according to the prosecutor's office, 1,554 people were arrested. The number of victims reaches 500 people. On October 18, during the protests 57 policemen were injured, on October 20 - 17 policemen, etc.

It is reported that at least 10 people died during the unrest. On October 20, 5 bodies were discovered in a burnt clothing factory in Santiago. On the morning of the same day during the fires after the defeat of two supermarkets in the capital, 2 women and a man were killed. Two more dead were discovered in a burned down construction market in southern Santiago.

KUT Chairwoman Barbara Figueroa said on October 20 that dialogue with the authorities is not possible as long as the military is on the streets. "The state of emergency in this situation is comparable only to what we experienced during the dictatorship protests. It demonstrates the complete collapse of this government." The port workers union called for a strike on October 20: "Chile must wake up from its lethargy"

https: //www.jungewelt. de / artikel / 365078.chile-chile-rebelliert.html;
https: //ru.euronews. com / 2019/10/19 / state-of-emergency-in-chili;

Meanwhile, protest rallies throughout the country that spread from Santiago to other cities and regions. Most of them are peaceful, although there are reports of arson, defeat and clashes with the police. The main form of peaceful protests was the "pan marches" (Caserolaso). Famous actors and singers come to the demonstrators. Such marches took place at Plaza Nuños, in the park of Ines de Suárez (Providencia) and Santa Isabel in the metropolitan area, the cities of Talca, Temuco, Concepcion, Quillota, Pisco Elki (Coquimbo), Antofagasta
According to the data announced by the Minister of the Interior, at 21:00 on Sunday the death toll was 7 people, 152 were arrested for various "acts of violence", 70 - for "serious incidents of violence" and 40 - for "robberies". The state of emergency was extended to the cities of Valdivia, Antofagasta, Talca, Chillan, Chillan Viejo, Temuco, Padre Las Casas, Punta Arenas and the entire Valparaiso region. The number of soldiers used reached 10,500, and the minister did not rule out an increase in their number.

Despite the cancellation of higher fares, new demands are being made. To the exclamations "Stop abuses" and the slogan "Chile, wake up", which is spread on social networks, the demonstrators demand an end to the economic model, in which access to education and health is private, and there are huge social inequalities, low pensions and lack of basic services
In Pasa Almonte (Tarapaca), the Family Health Center caught fire, in Iquique, attacks were made on the building of the regional administration, shops and notaries in the city center were destroyed; clashes with the military occurred at the barracks of the 6th Army Division
Last night, in the Concepcion province, the paid entry of Penko on the interport highway was set on fire
In Concepcion on Sunday, an attack on a gun shop; the attackers carried out the weapon

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