(6 Nov 2019) Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in Santiago Tuesday throwing stones at water cannon vehicles and braving clouds of tear gas.
The latest protest follows weeks of demonstrations in which 20 people have died amid looting and arson that forced the cancellation of two upcoming major international summits in what is considered one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries.
The demonstrations began last month after the government announced a hike in subway fares and transformed into a leaderless national movement with broader demands over education, health services and economic inequality.
Santiago’s subway system has said that it has suffered nearly $400 million in damages, while businesses in Chile are estimated to have lost more than $1.4 billion in damages to arson, looting and lost sales.
Protesters have slammed what they label a “neoliberal” economic model that on the surface makes Chile seem like a Latin American economic success story — masking a widely criticized pension system and hybrid public and private health and educations systems that give better benefits to the rich, who can afford to pay more.
Many protesters are demanding a new constitution to replace the 1980 charter written under Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 military dictatorship.
It allows many social services and natural resources, including water, to be wholly or partially privatized.
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