Chile president seeks cross-party help to end street violence

Santiago, Oct 23 (AFP/APP): President Sebastian Pinera held a meeting with leaders of some of Chile’s opposition parties on Tuesday, aiming to find a way to end street violence that has claimed 15 lives, while protests continued.

Three parties, including Chile’s largest opposition group the Socialist party, boycotted the meeting, while protesters took to the streets of the capital Santiago and other cities once again.

The army announced a night-time curfew — from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am — for the fourth day in a row.

The country’s worst violence in decades erupted on Friday, initially triggered by an increase in metro fares.

But it has mushroomed into a broader outcry against social and economic woes, including a yawning gap between rich and poor, in a country normally considered one of the most stable in Latin America.

Chile extends state of emergency

The conservative Pinera declared over the weekend that the country was “at war against a powerful, implacable enemy,” and imposed a state of emergency on Santiago and most of Chile’s 16 regions.

But he adopted a more conciliatory tone on Monday, calling on other parties to join him in trying to find “solutions to the problems afflicting Chileans.”

That didn’t stop people from assembling, including thousands who gathered peacefully at the Plaza Italia focal point in the capital on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Chile’s largest union, the Workers’ United Center of Chile (CUT) alongside 18 other social organizations, called strikes and protests for Thursday and Friday.

The public health sector workers’ union also announced its own plans to strike and demonstrate.



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