INTRODUCTION: In the Chilean port city of Valparaiso, the wives of striking dock workers have been staging a silent march in sympathy with their husbands.
GV PAN DOWN Valparaiso city centre and group of women in front of clocktower
SVs, GV PAN TO SV Women march along pavement, applauded by people on other pavement. (2 SHOTS)
GVs Women arriving outside government building, walking around lawn, and throwing flowers. Police in attendance (4 SHOTS)
SV Women singing national song. (2 SHOTS)
SV & GVs Women being arrested. Struggling man being arrested (4 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In the Chilean port city of Valparaiso, the wives of striking dock workers have been staging a silent march in sympathy with their husbands. The men have been protesting at a labour law passed by the Chilean junta last month, setting up a new government register for dockworkers and replacing the register drawn up by the workers themselves.
The women gathered in Valparaiso city centre for their silent protest, armed only with the flowers in their buttonholes. The partial strike by their husbands has lasted for two weeks: they have had a three per cent wage claim rejected and 20,000 reportedly face redundancy. As the women marched they were applauded by sympathisers on the other side of the road.
The women marched to the government building in the town, where they scattered their flowers. But their protest had not gone unnoticed by the police. Under Chilean labour laws, unions may only be formed within the place of work, and the unions are allowed no political status.
The silent protest gave way to a rendering of the Chilean national song..........
The Valparaiso strike comes only a few months after the arrest of eleven labour leaders, accused by the government of illegal activities.
The police moved in to arrest some of the singing women. The government of General Pinochet, who came to power in a violent coup in 1973 has been regularly accused of violating human rights by the international agency, Amnesty. The government has justified what it calls the strong measures because of its battle to control the economy. In Valparaiso, the leader of the Maritime Workers' Union denied that the women's march had been organised by them. And of the nine arrested all were eventually released after union lawyers filed a petition.