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News > Latin America

General Strike Called in Chile in Support of Protests

  • Chilean soldiers stand guard with their weapons during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago Oct. 20, 2019.

    Chilean soldiers stand guard with their weapons during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago Oct. 20, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 October 2019

The militarization of the country has been increased to try to control the violent factions within the protests against the rise in the price of the subway.

Miners and dockers unions in Chile called for a general strike in support of the protests against the government of President Sebastián Piñera, while the head of the National Defense Javier Iturriaga said Monday that he is not at war with anyone.

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"The truth is that I am not at war with anyone," General Iturriaga said when asked about the latest statements by the president, who said Sunday he was "at war against a powerful enemy."

On Sunday night, Piñera delivered statements criminalizing the protests and diverting attention from the real causes of the demonstrations, while the protests continue to spread throughout the country, without a glimpse of a short-term solution.

After the end of the curfew on Monday, thousands of people began to leave their homes to start their daily activities.

Public transport options were scarce Monday as public and private employees struggled to get to work due to the state of emergency and the call for a strike.

Iturriaga is in charge of security in the Metropolitan Region since the state of emergency was decreed and enabled the use of the Armed Forces to be deployed in Chile.

"It has been a slow awakening of the city, in calm, in peace, which makes us very calm but at the same time we are very alert to solve any inconvenience that some misfits could cause," said Iturriaga.

From the early hours of the morning, large groups of people could be seen waiting for the opening of some metro stations and standing at bus stops. 

On the other hand, in a statement released the day before, the workers of the largest private mining company in the country called for "paralyzing all the mining in Chile along with other productive sectors".

"We are going through the general strike until we break down the state of Emergency, take the military out of the streets, defeat the Piñera government and achieve each of the demands of the working people, popular sectors, youth, pensioners and women!" read the statement announcing the call. 

The document argues that the protests are not just due to higher transport prices because that was only the trigger for this unrest because of the injustices that we experience every day.

Meanwhile, the workers of the Port Stowagers Union of Valparaíso issued a statement expressing their total rejection to the decree by Piñera, and support for the mass social demonstrations.

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