The Mapuches of La Araucanía join the demonstrations against Piñera
MADRID, Oct. 22 (EUROPE PRESS) –
Hundreds of people have returned to march on Tuesday in Santiago, Chile, in a new day of protests against the Government of Sebastián Piñera, although he has agreed to freeze the price of the metro ticket, trigger of the demonstrations.
The protesters have begun to concentrate from the first hour in the different squares of the center of the Chilean capital in a peaceful environment. In these days new groups have been added. Thus, on Tuesday health officials have marched to the Ministry of Health.
The large influx of people has forced police to cut the Alameda, the main avenue of Santiago, at certain points. In addition, at the height of the University of Chile, special forces have prevented protesters from following the march.
So far, only incidents have been registered in Plaza Italia. There, Carabineros has used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd, according to local newspaper 'La Tercera'.
There have also been peaceful demonstrations in Antofagasta, Concepción and Valparaíso, while the Mapuche Indians, who are concentrated in the region of La Araucanía, have announced that they will join the protests by setting marches for this Tuesday and a general strike from Wednesday.
The government spokeswoman, Cecilia Pérez, has stated that, although “today the challenge is very great”, the Executive is determined to “bring some normality” so that “Chile gets back on its feet”.
Protests broke out last week over the government's decision to raise the price of the subway ticket for the fourth time in recent months. The demonstrations have been radicalized over the weekend with damage to public transport and looting. At least 15 people have died.
In this context, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera declared a state of emergency last Friday and imposed a curfew in Santiago and other cities. At the moment, it has reversed the controversial measure by freezing the price of the subway ticket.
According to Piñera, the country is in “war” against “a powerful enemy” to which it has not named. The opposition has criticized the deployment of the military because of the state of emergency and the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI) has taken legal action for allegations of torture and harassment.
“There is a situation of social upheaval in which certain crimes have been committed,” said the spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office, Marta Herrera. “There are illicit that we could call common, and with respect to them we will be extremely drastic. (…) With the same vehemence we will pursue those acts that occur precisely in the context of institutional violence,” he said.
For his part, the Under Secretary of the Interior, Rodrigo Ubilla, has defended the Armed Forces, hours after a recording of a conversation by the first lady, Cecilia Morel, was known, in which she affirms that the uniformed men are “absolutely exceeded. ”
“The Armed Forces are not exceeded,” Ubilla defended at a press conference. “Today we have made progress with law enforcement and security forces and the Armed Forces in giving peace of mind in different regions of the country and we have seen a decrease in violence,” he said.
However, he admitted that “we are not in a normal situation” because “there are still criminals” who “want to destroy and burn public and private property.” Santiago, Concepción and Valparaíso continue with a curfew.