Violence marks commemoration of 1973 coup in Santiago
Riots and looting were reported Sunday in Santiago during demonstrations marking another anniversary of the coup d’état that in 1973 toppled then-President Salvador Allende and started the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet which lasted until 1990.
Carabineros police clashed with demonstrators in downtown Santiago de Chile, after a pilgrimage to the General Cemetery called by human rights groups when hooded militants threw fireworks and Molotov cocktails at law enforcement officers in front of La Moneda.
Looting was also reported on Paseo Estado and Paseo Ahumada while a vehicle was set on fire. The police used water trucks and tear gas to disperse the violent demonstrators.
Tributes to the victims of the dictatorship were left in the middle of the clashes. Despite the disturbances among the graves in the General Cemetery, the mobilization went on.
According to Carabineros, two officers were affected by gases from explosives thrown at them.
President Gabriel Boric Font condemned the incidents and said: Salvador Allende and his legacy is mainly his value for democracy. Democracy is built with dialogue, respecting those who think differently and never with violence, and I hope all those who claim this day understand that.
Because if we want to move forward, which I have no doubt is the will of the great and overwhelming majority of Chileans, to meet again, it has to be in peace and without violence. And that is what we are going to do from the government, he added.
Boric had announced earlier in the day a search plan for those missing since the dictatorship. Our commitment is to continue searching tirelessly for the disappeared detainees, 1,192 disappeared detainees that we still do not know where they are; it is not acceptable, it is not tolerable, we cannot naturalize it, he said.
The La Moneda palace had dawned with red carnations as Boric attended the General Cemetery together with the Allende family, MPs, and other authorities. Forty-nine years ago, President Salvador Allende and his collaborators gave us a historic lesson of loyalty, of consequence, and above all, of dignity. In his last words, he reminds us that he will always be with us and that quiet metal of his voice continues to resonate to this day in our daily work, said Boric.
Boric also praised human rights organizations and groups bringing together relatives of those who disappeared under Pinochet’s regime. I hope that this legacy transcends ideological frontiers and, above all, penetrates the depths of our political community at a time when democracy in the world is threatened from different fronts. In the face of the divisions, the problems of society, we are going to respond with more democracy and never with less.
Regarding the mass rejection of his proposed Constitution, Boric said that to those who come to invite us to repent of the convictions we have, we say that we will not give up, we will defend the mandate for which we came here: of transformation, dialogue, and to generate decent living conditions for our people.