Violence Erupts at March in Chile

John Metz redsolidarity at
Mon Sep 9 09:29:23 MDT 2002

World - AP Latin America

Violence Erupts at March in Chile
Sun Sep 8, 3:43 PM ET

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Police used tear gas and water
cannons to disperse demonstrators Sunday after
violence erupted during a march marking the 29th
anniversary of the military coup led by Gen. Augusto
Pinochet ( news - web sites).

While most of the 1,500 demonstrators peacefully
marched more than 25 blocks from downtown Santiago to
the city's main cemetery, small groups of masked youth
started throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at
stores, bank offices and at police.

As the march went past the presidential palace, which
was destroyed by air force jets during the coup, the
demonstrators burned a U.S. flag. It was widely
believed that the U.S. government and CIA ( news - web
sites) supported the coup.

Among the stores attacked by the demonstrators was a
McDonald's restaurant, which was set on fire and had
its windows smashed.

The march took place three days ahead of the actual
Sept. 11 anniversary. Organizers said they moved the
march ahead because, unlike previous years, that date
is no longer a holiday. The number of marchers was
clearly smaller than in previous years.

The march ended at a memorial wall erected at the
cemetery to honor hundreds of victims of repression
during Pinochet's 1973-90 rule.

Buried at the cemetery is Salvador Allende, the
Marxist president toppled by Pinochet in the coup.

At the cemetery and in nearby streets, some of the
demonstrators renewed their violent protests, erecting
barricades, and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Police responded with water trucks and tear gas.
Police Col. Jorge Carmona said eight demonstrators
were detained. There was no reports of injuries.

Allende committed suicide the day of the coup in his
in his presidential palace under heavy attack by the
rebellious military.

According to a government report after Pinochet
stepped down, 3,190 people were killed for political
reasons during his long reign. More than 1,000
dissidents remain unaccounted.

Since civilian rule was restored, several officers
under Pinochet have been convicted and served prison
terms. But the Supreme Court ruled that the
86-year-old former dictator is physically and mentally
unfit to stand trial.

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