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  • A demonstrator confronts a riot police officer during a protest against Chile's government at Plaza Italia in Santiago, Chile, November 9, 2019.

    A demonstrator confronts a riot police officer during a protest against Chile's government at Plaza Italia in Santiago, Chile, November 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 November 2019

The announcement came as at least two million Chileans across the country joined Tuesday’s General Strike in the biggest demonstration since the beginning of the anti-neoliberalism protests.  

Amidst the fourth week of mass anti-government demonstrations in Chile, President Sebastian Piñera in a televised speech on Tuesday opened the possibility of rehiring retired police officers.

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Massive General Strike in Chile Demands a Constituent Assembly

“We have decided to open the possibility of reintegration to Carabineros [national police] and investigators who have had a recent and prominent retirement [in order] to increase the capabilities of order and security forces,” the head of state said.

The announcement came as at least two million Chileans across the country joined Tuesday’s General Strike in the biggest demonstration since the beginning of the anti-neoliberalism protests.  

"The General Strike stands for the unity of both public and private workers who are seeking structural transformations and a constituent assembly," Chile's National Association of Fiscal Employees (ANEF) said and added that what prevails is a broad effort for "the conquest of social rights."

A wide range of sectors joined the strike as port, agro-industrial, commercial, banking, health, and public services workers, as well as teachers and students,  unified their petition of structural changes through a Constituent Assembly.

A demand also voiced by Chilean opposition political parties which generated a unitary agreement on Tuesday and called on Piñera's government to hold such Constituent Assembly and a plebiscite for a new Constitution. 

Despite the political and social pressure and demands, Piñera did not address the issue during his speech but called for “dialogue” and the restoration of “order.”

About Chile 27 days after the social revolution occurred: There has not been a single day without protests in the country, the increase in subway rates blew up everything but the demand to stop them was immediately exceeded, many more came out given the inequality and misery in Chile.
 

Meanwhile, after completing an “emergency mission” in Chile, European Parliament Members Miguel Urban and Idoia Villanueva on Wednesday reported that this South American country suffers repression levels similar to those seen in the last three years of the Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990).

"Chile is just another example within a global trend towards the criminalization of social protests and persecution of human rights defenders," Urban said, adding that such problems "are being silenced."

Massive demonstrations against the Chilean government began in Santiago on October 14 due to a 30-cent increase in the subway fare.

While this measure was revoked by Piñera, social unrest increased in magnitude as the Chileans began to question "30 years" of neoliberal policies, which have implied a systematic withdrawal of economic and social rights for millions of people.​​​​​​​

According to the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI), over the last month, at least 5,629 people have been arrested and 2,009 injured in Chile.

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