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  • Michelle Bachelet

    Michelle Bachelet | Photo: news.un.org

Published 21 October 2019

The former Chilean President admitted feeling “very sad and worried” because of “violence, destruction, death and injured people” in her country.

The High Commissioner of the United Nations Organization for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet asked Chilean President Sebastian Piñera to use dialogue as well as asking protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

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"I urge the Government to work with all sectors of society towards solutions that help calm the situation," Bachelet said in a statement.

The former Chilean president admitted feeling “very sad and worried” because of “violence, destruction, death and injured people” in her country.

Disorder, fires and strong police repression have taken place during a period of protests in the South American nation against the rising of taxes of public transportation, a measure suspended by Piñera after an escalation in demonstrations.

Local authorities have confirmed the deaths of eleven people and 1.500 detained in the middle of disturbances.

Serious Accusations

“There have been disturbing accusations of excessive use of force by some members of security agencies and the army,” pointed out Bachelet, while expressing her “alarm” by “the accusations that some of the arrested had been denied a call to their lawyers, and others had suffered mistreatment'

Furthermore, she highlighted that it is essential that all acts that have caused injury and death, both by the authorities or by protesters, be subject to independent, impartial and transparent investigations.

"The use of inflammatory rhetoric will only aggravate the situation even more, and there is a risk of generating fear in the population," the High Commissioner warned and urged “all those who are planning to participate in the protests today and the next few days, to do so peacefully".

Finally, she asked the authorities to "ensure that the right of all persons to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration be respected."

Piñera, on the other hand, made a call on Sunday to "start winning this battle" against vandalism and crime. "We are at war against a powerful, implacable enemy, who does not respect anything or anyone," he said.

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