Around a million people took to the streets in the Chilean capital Santiago on Friday to protest peacefully against President Sebastián Piñera’s government policy, Governor Karla Rubilar writes on Twitter.
This makes the protest action larger than all its predecessors from the last three weeks, when the unrest in the country sparked.
Actions were not only organized in Santiago: there were also protest marches in the rest of Chile, albeit smaller ones. In the Chilean port city of Valparaiso, the Chilean congress had to be evacuated after the atmosphere in the area became grim.
President Piñera tried to suppress the demonstrations on Wednesday by asking for forgiveness and announcing social reforms. There would be a guaranteed minimum wage, an increased pension and electricity costs were stabilized. The price increases would be reversed.
The demonstrators at Plaza Italia in Santiago had signs that they urged the government to implement the measures. The president wrote after the mass protest that “everyone” has heard the message and that the protest “offers hope.”
Chileans are bothered because Piñera wanted to raise the rates in public transport. The South American people had long been dissatisfied with the high cost of living and social inequality.
In previous demonstrations, officers and demonstrators met several times. There were already eighteen deaths, including a child. Nearly seven thousand people were arrested and a curfew was set up in Santiago.