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News > Latin America

Chile: Police Block March by Relatives of the Disappeared

  • A wall in Chile's Museum of Memory and Human Rights.

    A wall in Chile's Museum of Memory and Human Rights. | Photo: Twitter / @mariseka

Published 30 August 2018

Relatives of the people disappeared by Pinochet's United States-backed dictatorship are being prevented from reaching the presidential palace.

In Chile, on the International Day of the Disappeared commemorated every August 30, the police have barred relatives and friends of people, who were disappeared during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1974 - 1990), from marching in parts of the country's capital.

Chilean Minister Steps Down After Denying Pinochet Dictatorship

TeleSUR correspondent reported that hundreds gathered in Santiago to march towards the presidential palace, La Moneda. The protesters seek to place the pictures of the victims of the dictatorship outside of La Moneda but are being prevented from doing so by security forces.

Earlier this month Chile’s Supreme Court granted conditional release to a group of former military agents, including soldiers Jose Quintanilla Fernandez, Hernan Portillo Aranda and Felipe Gonzalez Astorga, and police officer Manuel Perez Santillan, all convicted of crimes against humanity.

According to the Valech Commission, Pinochet’s United States-backed dictatorship left over 40,000 victims of state crimes, including over 3,000 people who were murdered or forcibly disappeared in the context of the military government’s anti-communist campaign, which followed the military coup against democratically elected president Salvador Allende.   

National and international human rights groups have demanded the court to review its decision to no avail. They received support from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which urged Chile to reconsider releasing seven human rights violators.

However, the justices did not backtrack, and Chilean left-wing and progressive legislators have begun a legal battle to dismiss Supreme Court Justices Carlos Künsemüller, Hugo Dolmestch, and Manuel Valderrama, who granted early release for “enabling impunity” and disregarding international law.

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