Chiles worst unrest in decades has transformed into a nationwide uprising for change. Here seven protesters explain what theyre fighting for
The spark that lit the flame was a 3% hike in subway fares, but after 12 days of mass protests and street violence, Chile’s worst unrest in decades has transformed into a nationwide uprising demanding dramatic changes to the country’s economic and political system.
Eighteen people have died in the violence and 7,000 have been arrested amid widespread outbreaks of violence and arson, and credible allegations of human rights abuses by the security forces.
The leaderless movement has forced the billionaire president, Sebastián Piñera, on the defensive, prompting him to replace eight ministers and announce a string of emergency measures including a small increase in the minimum wage and higher taxes on wealthy Chileans.
But such moves have not been enough to defuse the protests, which are driven by deep-rooted disillusionment over inequality that has left millions of citizens frozen out of Chile’s economic rise.
One per cent of Chile’s population earns 33% of the nation’s wealth, making it the most unequal country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development group of nations.
Many protesters are calling for a new constitution to replace the one written in 1980 during the reign of August Pinochet, which created the legal basis for a market-driven economic model that has privatized pensions, health and education.
Juan Ángel, 60, school teacher
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