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  • Protesters took to the streets to demand social reforms, Santiago, Chile, 2019.

    Protesters took to the streets to demand social reforms, Santiago, Chile, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @LaPrensAustra

Published 15 December 2020
Opinion

Progressive senators presented a bill to grant a pardon to hundreds of people who took part in the 2019 social unrest.

Chile's President Sebastian Piñera on Monday announced he will reject a bill to pardon citizens who are in police custody due to their participation in the protests that took place in October 2019.

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Claiming that the bill threatens public order, citizen security, and the rule of law, Piñera announced that if necessary, he will use his veto prerogatives to prevent the pardon's approval by the Senate.

Supporters of the bill condemned the situation of hundreds of detainees who have not been yet submitted to due process since the beginning of the social protests more than a year ago.

The lawmaker from Democratic Revolution (DR) Party Maite Orsini considered it contradictory that Piñera's administration pardoned prisoners convicted for crimes against humanity but refuses to let Congress discuss a project that will mostly benefit young people who mobilized for social protests.

The bill was introduced by Senate President Adriana Muñoz and four other senators from the Socialist, Progressive, Democratic Revolution, and Christian Democracy parties. It is due to be debated this week.

The proposal seeks to grant a general pardon on an exceptional basis to those who were arrested, accused, or imprisoned for having committed public disorder, theft, or crimes to private property from Oct. 19 to Dec. 6, 2019. 

According to data from the Public Prosecutor's Office, 648 people are still in preventative detention and 725 were convicted of theft, disorder, or damage to private property.

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