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  • Military Police attacks citizens in the streets surrounding the place where the 'Concert for Dignity' was held in Santiago, Chile, Dec. 13, 2019.

    Military Police attacks citizens in the streets surrounding the place where the 'Concert for Dignity' was held in Santiago, Chile, Dec. 13, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 14 December 2019
Opinion

The Bunkers, Illapu, and Inti-Illimani performed a concert in the square that has become the icon of popular rebellion. The government's response was police repression.

On Friday, the same voices that fought against Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship (1973-1990) got together to sing before about 500,000 people who gathered in the "Dignity Square" to chant against President Sebastian Piñera's administration and its ongoing violation of human rights.

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“And now the people rise up in the fight, with the voice of a giant, shouting: forward!. The united people will never be defeated, the united people will never be defeated.”

This was the chorus that thousands of Chileans of all ages shouted as they raised their fists and their flags on Dec. 12, when the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) presented a report confirming that human rights have been seriously and massively violated in Chile.

“This Friday was the ninth consecutive Friday of the popular rebellion that began on Oct. 18,” local outlet La Izquierda Diario recalled and explained that “besides being the revolt's epicenter, the Dignity Square is the place where solidarity and resistance defy repression.”

From this historic place, previously known as Italy Square, Latin American cult bands the Bunkers, Illapu, and Inti-Illimani, which took the songs of the Chilean resistance abroad during the dictatorship, made a recital whose symbolic force was silenced by mainstream media.

The images and sounds, however, were broadcasted live by social networks. Meanwhile, massive protests also happened in other cities such as Antofagasta, where the Military Police (Carabineros) raided the regional university's facilities.

"The government is responsible for systematic violations of human rights. However, this has not halted police repression. On the contrary, Piñera is implementing an anti-protest agenda and persecuting dissidents," outled La Izquierda Diario said.

"Without authorization, despite the repression of police, without resources, only with claw and heart, the Concert for Dignity was an absolute success. Something that others can never do."

The UN human rights report was presented at a press conference in which OHCHR officials clearly stated that "a high number of human rights violations have been committed", among which are illicit deaths, torture, sexual violence, and arbitrary detentions.

Despite the above, Foreign Affairs Minister Teodoro Ribera, who said “we cannot be worried about more reports or fewer reports,” denied obvious facts.

“None of the international organizations' reports suggest that there have been serious and systematic violations. That's why we have to review the reports, see the conclusions,” Ribera stated.

The OHCHR report “has assertions that are not typical of the High Commissioner but expressions made by third parties, which are expressed in words like ‘would be’, 'could be’… It is not assumed that this is necessarily true,” Piñera's minister added.

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