Chileans intensify protests against Sebastián Piñera and police

Various social organizations, students’ groups, trade unions and women’s movements have called for a series of protests against the right-wing government of president Sebastián Piñera this month

March 04, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
On March 5, a national mobilization will be held against Chile's police force the Carabineros over their brutal repression and reiterated human rights violations. On August 1, Carabineros repressed a march in support of the Mapuche hunger strikers and against the racist violence. Photo: Radio Kvrruf

Several Chilean social organizations, students’ groups, trade unions and women’s movements have called for a series of protest actions against the right-wing government of president Sebastián Piñera throughout March.

On March 1 & 2, numerous demonstrations were held in the capital city Santiago and the port city Valparaiso marking the beginning of these anti-government protests. Hundreds of young citizens and students hit the streets in the two cities demanding the immediate release of all political prisoners, especially the protesters arrested during the social outbreak of October 2019 and the Indigenous Mapuche prisoners.

Since November 2020, after the citizens approved the drafting of a new constitution in the national plebiscite on October 25, a number of protests have been organized demanding the release of protesters, who have spent almost a year and half in prison for demonstrating in the streets without having committed any crime. Almost all of them have been violently repressed by the national police force, the Carabineros, including the ones that took place on Monday and Tuesday.

The Carabineros force has been denounced for their brutality countless times by national and international human rights organizations. They have been accused of committing grave human rights violations during the popular uprising. In January 2020, a police truck intentionally hit and ran over 37-year-old  social activist Jorge Mora and killed him. In October 2020, a 16-year-old young protester Antony Araya was pushed from a bridge into a river in Santiago by a Carabineros official. Recently, on February 5, 2021, a Carabineros shot dead agent 29-year-old street artist Francisco Martínez Romero after he refused to undergo an identity check.

In this regard, a national strike has been called for tomorrow, March 5, to demand an end to state violence and dissolution of the Carabineros, who have been killing innocent people and violating the human rights of those who protest in the streets against the regime.

Next week, on March 8, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, feminist movements and women’s organizations have called for a women’s general strike and nationwide mobilizations to demand gender just society. Gender parity in all spheres, non-sexist education and the right to free and legal abortion are some of their demands.

Additionally, a national protest day has been called for March 11 under the banner of “For Health, Housing, Work and Education”. Various organizations and unions have called on the citizens to mobilize en masse to demand Piñera’s resignation and the roll-back of the austerity measures introduced by his neoliberal government.