Thursday, August 25, 2011

48 hrs. General Strike in Chile

The first journey of General Strike (or National Stop) in Chile has been completed but the second one begins now.

The strike has been a total success and has put upside down the South American country (at least the capital Santiago that hosts 40% of the population). It was announced already on Tuesday with a cacerolazo (massive pot banging).

The demands are varied but emphasis is on public quality non-profit education, increase of taxes to companies, formation of a state pension fund and more resources for health care and education: in other words, the state as re-distributor and proactive keeper of certain social equality and not as mere executor of the Capital.

Since very early in the morning barricades were set up in order to make the protest visible, impede road traffic and allow the free passage of the demonstrations. Police charged against them, arresting dozens.

Later a demonstration marched onto the see of the government the Palacio de la Moneda.

While 300 people tried to capture a police station at La Pincoya neighborhood, a drunk policeman shot on the hand his own boss.

In the afternoon the unions declared themselves very satisfied by the following of the national walkout, with one claiming 80% of following. Some 35 people are reported arrested.

The clashes between groups of people and police increased, being reported in many corners of the capital Santiago and cities of the interior. The use of petrol bombs seemed widespread. One of the street battles took place just a few blocs away from the government's see, while others took place near university buildings.

A notorious incident happened in the evening when a carabinero (military police) tried to arrest a student, causing her teacher to intervene in her help. At that point another policeman arrived and crying threats of "I'm going to shoot" threatened everybody. Finally both officers evacuated without making any arrests nor shooting nor anything else but the episode was filmed and has been watched thousands of times already:

By the evening police surrounded the offices of the major union, the Unitary Workers' Central (CUT). 

Incidents may have continued through the night but I do not have confirmation at this point.

Source: La Haine[es].

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