Fifteen people killed and 5000 arrested in nationwide anti-government protests
In only a matter of days, a seemingly unexceptional protest over rising metro fares in Santiago has escalated quickly into a full blown national crisis in Chile.
Unshackled and fearless, protesters angry after years of austerity and worsening inequality have railed against the elistist regime of Sebastián Piñera for his profligacy and corruption, and now for repressive response to the protests.
By declaring “war” on the protests and social unrests, Piñera immediately plunged the nation back into its darkest days, reminiscent of the Pinochet dictatorship.
The deployment of the military and imposition of curfews have further antagonised the embattled population in one of the most unequal societies in the OCED where one-fifth earns less than $140 per month and 50% on just over $550.
Many also lack access to basic public services and are deeply resentful of the two-tier society where the rich further enrich themselves whilst the poor gets even poorer.
The Chilean president belatedly went on national television to apologise on Tuesday evening, announcing a raft of reforms that he hopes will stymie the unrests.
Commenting on the crisis, our MEPs on the Parliament’s delegation to Chile, Niyazi Kızılyürek and Eugenia Rodríguez Palop said:
“For the first time in thirty years since the dictatorship of General Pinochet, we see armed forces in the streets of Chile. A reactionary government at the service of Chilean elites has resorted to the criminalisation of social protest, making use of the army to suppress popular uprisings that have taken place against the unbearable levels of inequality in the country.”
“It is a shame that the European Parliament has not voted on the Left group’s proposal to discuss what is happening in this country. The majority of MEPs that make up this Parliament do not want to talk about the failure of neoliberalism in Latin America.”
“Given the circumstances of the case, we demand the immediate end of the state of emergency and a clear statement by the EU and the member states regarding the violation of human rights in Chile.”