Strikes in Chile - which began on Wednesday, 11 October, with nationwide transport stoppages - erupted into violence on Tuesday (17 October).
Strikes in Chile - which began on Wednesday, 11 October, with nationwide transport stoppages - erupted into violence on Tuesday (17 October). The two-year-old Marxist Government of President Salvador Allende called out the Army, and 17 of the country's 25 provinces were put under military control - an unusual situation in Chile.
In the Capital, Santiago, jeeps full of armed soldiers patrolled the streets, and riot police fired gas canisters at demonstrators. It is the widest-spread confrontation between President Allende and his mainly middle class opponents since he came to power.
The transport strike - which began in protest against Government plans for a state-run system to take over transport in the South of the country - had grown to paralysing proportions within five days. Then, in support of the drivers, most of Chile's professional men and employers came out in sympathy. These included doctors, merchant navy officers and engineers, shopkeepers (other than chemists and food suppliers), bank clerks and businessmen. The closures brought people out into the streets - and troops and "Carabineros" (National police) were called out to control any demonstrations. A curfew from midnight to six a.m. was clamped on the Capital, and several arrests were made. Two people have died since the start of the strikes - one of them in the port town of Valparaiso, shot down when he refused to stop for a patrol.
SYNOPSIS: Troops and riot police were called out in the Chilean Capital of Santiago on Tuesday, as violence erupted after a week of strikes. The unusual decision to bring out the Army was made by President Allende, when a paralysing transport strike spread to other sectors of Chilean middle class.
The strikes began in protest against Government plans to take over transport in the south of the country. Five days later, most of Chile's professional men and employers came out in sympathy. These included doctors, merchant navy officers, shopkeepers, bank clerks and businessmen - in fact, most of the middle class which is opposed to Allende's Marxist Government.
The closures brought people out into the streets. As troops and riot police move in to Santiago, a curfew was imposed from midnight to six ayem. Seventeen of the country's twenty-five provinces are under military control. Many arrests have been made, and two people have so far been reported killed. In spite of this, the strikes continue, and President Allende is still faced with the widest-spread opposition since he came to power to years ago.