Over the last two weeks, mass popular protests have escalated in Chile putting forward demands including the reduction of social inequalities, better, accessible and public welfare services, and a redressing of the rising cost of living. So far, the mobilisations have culminated in the mass countrywide marches of 25 October, in which over three millions took to the streets in a country of 18 million people, with 1.5 million in the capital Santiago de Chile only. The mobilisations targeted the Pi√Īera government but also challenged the broader legacies of Pinochet’s neoliberal dictatorship, which range from a mostly private-owned welfare system to a constitution that still grants an unusual series of privileges to the country’s military and business elites. The mobilisations are continuing despite Pi√Īera’s concessions, with a general strike taking place today and more actions planned throughout the week. Chileans living in the UK have mobilised in many cities to support this working-class uprising, speaking up against the brutal repression and human rights violations perpetrated by the country’s police and army. We republish here the statement of the Assembly of Chileans in Bristol.

Currently Chile is living a militarised repression not seen since the end of the Dictatorship in 1990. Almost the entire territory is under a state of constitutional exception, i.e. the military has taken over control of public security, imposed curfew, and suspended key fundamental freedoms. This situation has led to reports of serious violations of human rights, such as arbitrary imprisonment, tortures, sexual violence, and prohibitions to free movement, among others.

Recent mobilizations were triggered by an increase in the price of public transport in the capital city of Santiago but reflect structural inequalities that go far beyond. In a context of widespread business collusion and tax evasion, criminalization of indigenous communities, corruption scandals in the army and police forces, low wages and pensions, privatised water and the establishment of environmental sacrifice areas, we understand these protests as a legitimate response against a systematic abuse of power, denial of social rights and commodification of basic aspects of life, such as education, healthcare, housing, transport, and natural resources among others.

Chile might seem a distant country, but the current uprising is the result of decades of neoliberal policies which only reproduce appalling inequality. Chileans’ struggles can be linked to worldwide struggles such as those in Ecuador, Lebanon or even here in the UK, which is suffering the slow privatisation of the NHS, and the recent closure of parliament.

Today, 24 of October 2019, when Chile goes through a general strike against the repressive measures taken by president Sebastian Pi√Īera, we wish to express once again our support, gratitude and solidarity with the Chilean people, who have gone to the streets to protest against the effects of an unfair and unequal socio-economical model.

We repudiate the militarisation of life and its politics of death. We firmly condemn the deployment of the armed forces and the restriction of civil, political and social liberties of Chilean citizens, which incite more violence and anger amongst the population. We demand the immediate end of the state of constitutional exception and the withdrawal of the military forces from the streets.

We support and encourage the people’s fair demands for a change of the current neoliberal political-economic model, which has created socioeconomic, gendered, racial and socioecological inequalities.

We demand the replacement of Chile’s current constitution written and enforced during Pinochet’s dictatorship. We believe that the new constitution should be the product of a real collective and communitarian effort which should entail the real participation of every agent and social movement in the country.

Solidarity and gratitude with those who fight!

¬°AGUANTE CHILE SIN MIEDO!

Chilean students, academics and workers in Bristol

More information:

‚ÄĘ Economic inequality in Chile is outrageous. 1% of the population accounts for the 26.5% of the national GDP. Chile is the most unequal among the OECD member countries.

‚ÄĘ The military repression of the Chilean population today has been endured by Chile‚Äôs indigenous people for more than a century.

‚ÄĘ Yesterday, 23/10/2019, there were 54 protests occurring simultaneously all over the country, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people.

‚ÄĘ The government talks about ‚Äėwar‚Äô, repeating discourses used during the Pinochet dictatorship; however, these social movements are not armed. These protests express the discontent of a people tired of the neoliberal system‚Äôs abuses.

Official figures from 17-10-19 to 23-10-19 (INDH):

‚ÄĘ 18 officially acknowledged deaths

‚ÄĘ 2,410 people imprisoned (274 children/underaged, 442 women)

‚ÄĘ Reports of human rights violations such as: stripping, rape threats and other forms of sexual violence, physical and verbal abuse, beatings.

‚ÄĘ 421 injured adults and 32 children reportedly admitted in hospitals; 210 with gunshot wounds

‚ÄĘ 55 legal actions (representing 170 people (40 children, 130 adults)) for human rights violations. Among those: 5 cases presented official complaints against military/police forces for manslaughter; 8 complaints against military/police forces for sexual violence, including the undressing of an underaged person; 24 complaints for illegitimate constraints, excessive use of force and torture.

‚ÄĘ There has been a report regarding the existence of a torture centre in Santiago, which is currently under investigation.

SPANISH VERSION

En estos días, Chile vive una represión militar no vista desde el fin de la dictadura en 1990. La mayor parte del territorio está bajo estado de emergencia, con los militares tomando el control de las calles, imponiendo un toque de queda y suspendiendo importantes derechos fundamentales. A partir de esto se han producido reportes de violaciones de derechos humanos, tales como: detención arbitraria, torturas, violencia sexual, prohibición del derecho a la libre circulación, entre otros.

Las recientes movilizaciones comenzaron con el alza del pasaje del metro de Santiago, pero reflejan desigualdades estructurales que van mucho más allá. En un contexto de colusiones, persecución y criminalización de comunidades indígenas, evasión de impuestos por parte de los grandes empresarios, y zonas de sacrificio, entendemos que las protestas son la respuesta legítima ante un abuso sistemático de poder, la negación de derechos sociales y la mercantilización de ámbitos básicos de la vida, tales como educación, salud, pensiones, vivienda, transporte, recursos naturales, entre otros.

Chile puede parecer un país lejano, pero el alzamiento de hoy es el resultado de décadas de políticas neoliberales que producen y reproducen una desigualdad indignante. El conflicto en Chile se conecta con otros conflictos ocurriendo en estos momentos en el mundo, como en Ecuador, Líbano o incluso Reino Unido, que sufre la gradual privatización de su sistema de salud y el cierre del parlamento.

Hoy, 24 de Octubre 2019, cuando Chile vive una huelga general contra las medidas represivas impuestas por el presidente Pi√Īera, deseamos expresar nuevamente nuestro apoyo, gratitud y solidaridad con el pueblo chileno que una vez m√°s ha salido a las calles a protestar contra los efectos del modelo socio-econ√≥mico neoliberal que reproduce injusticias e inequidades.

1.   Repudiamos la militarizaci√≥n de la vida y su pol√≠tica de muerte. Condenamos firmemente el uso de las fuerzas armadas y la restricci√≥n de las libertades civiles, pol√≠ticas y sociales de las personas en Chile, que s√≥lo redundan en m√°s violencia y rabia en la poblaci√≥n. Demandamos el fin inmediato del estado de excepci√≥n constitucional y el retiro de las fuerzas militares de las calles.

2.   Apoyamos las justas demandas del pueblo chileno por un cambio en el modelo pol√≠tico y econ√≥mico neoliberal, que ha creado enormes desigualdades socioecon√≥micas, de g√©nero, raciales y socio-ecol√≥gicas.

3.   Demandamos el reemplazo de la constituci√≥n chilena actual, redactada y promulgada durante la dictadura de Pinochet. La nueva constituci√≥n debe ser el producto de un esfuerzo colectivo y comunitario real, en el que participen todos los agentes y movimientos sociales en el pa√≠s.

¬°Solidaridad y gratitud con lxs que luchan!

¬°AGUANTE CHILE SIN MIEDO!

Estudiantxs, académicxs y trabajadorxs chilenos en Bristol

Más información:

¬∑       La desigualdad econ√≥mica en Chile es indignante. El 1% de la poblaci√≥n concentra el 26.5% del PIB nacional. Chile es el pa√≠s m√°s desigual entre los pa√≠ses miembros de la OCDE.

¬∑       La represi√≥n militar que vive la poblaci√≥n general

¬∑       Ayer 23/10, se registraron 54 protestas simult√°neas a lo largo del pa√≠s, que contaron con cientos de miles de participantes.

¬∑       El gobierno habla de guerra, repitiendo discursos de la dictadura de Pinochet, pero los movimientos sociales no est√°n armados. Se trata de manifestaciones pac√≠ficas de un pueblo cansado del abuso del sistema neoliberal.

Cifras oficiales del 17-10-19 al 23-10-19 (INDH):

¬∑       18 muertes reconocidas oficialmente

¬∑       2.410 detenidos (274 menores, 442 mujeres)

¬∑       Reportes de violaciones de derechos humanos tales como: desnudamientos, violencia sexual y amenazas de violaci√≥n, golpizas.

¬∑       421 adultos y 32 menores heridxs en hospitales, 210 producto de impactos de bala

¬∑       55 acciones legales en contra de agentes militares/policiales por violaciones a los derechos humanos, representando 170 personas (40 menores, 130 adultos) incluyendo: 5 querellas por homicidio, 8 por violencia sexual que incluyen el desnudamiento de un menor de edad, 24 por apremios ileg√≠timos o torturas.

·       Se ha denunciado la existencia de un centro de tortura en Santiago, lo que se encuentra bajo investigación.

24 October 2019