President Allende has been faced with serious rioting and governmental crises as a result of a month-long strike by Chile's independent lorry drivers.
GVS Water cannon through street housing rioters (4 shots)
GV AND SV PAN Women demonstrators (2 shots)
GV AND SV Motorcade and Allende out of car crowd applauds zoom into Allende shaking hands (2 shots)
SV AND MV Allende surrounded by crowds talking to people (3 shots)
SV Allende waves to crowd before entering building.
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Background: President Allende has been faced with serious rioting and governmental crises as a result of a month-long strike by Chile's independent lorry drivers.
The most recent of the President's???worries has been the offer of resignation, on masses, from his Cabinet. This move came after General Carlos Prats' decision to stop down as Minister of Defence on Thursday (23 August). Army officers had put pressure on the general to resign - he is also commander of the Army as they were concerned about the association of members of the Armed Forces with Dr. Allende's government.
Another member of the Armed Forces to step down from the Cabinet is General Cesar Ruiz. He was Transport Minister as well as being the Commander of the Air Force, and he relinquished both posts on Saturday (18 August). As Transport Minister, he was directly involved in seeking an end to the transport strike.
Both departures brought protest demonstrations from the wives of Army and Air Force officers. But not all the demonstrations in Santiago have been against Dr. Allende.
On Wednesday, he was cheered by thousands of women when he arrived at the Presidential Palace. When he spoke the crowds from a balcony, the air was still thick with tear-gas, the result of police action against clashes between rival political groups earlier that day.
SYNOPSIS: Police had to use water cannon and tear gas to disperse rival political groups in Chile's riot-torn capital, Santiago. The clashes early this week were between right-wing groups, demonstrating in sympathy with striking lorry drivers, and left-wing militants.
Not all the demonstrations have been in favour of the strikers. On Wednesday, thousands of women were on the streets to show their support of President Allende's Popular Unity Party.
But only hours after this pro-government rally, the crisis deepened as the House of Deputies passed a motion calling on military members of the government to force the President to govern "according to the law". But leaders of the Chilean Armed Forces had already left the cabinet by the time the motion was carried. Generals Casar Ruiz had been replaced as Transport Minister and the Defence Minister General Carlos Prats, had resigned.
Latest reports indicates that a settlement in the lorry drivers' strike may be imminent. The five week old strike is costing the country over two million pounds a day. It started when the government refused to allow the drivers to raise their tariffs, and has brought economic chaos because the drivers are the backbone of the nation's transport industry.
But even if the strike ends soon, it will be a long time before Chile returns to normal.
Even at this rally in his favour, Dr. Allende was faced by reminders of the day's riots --- the air was thick w???h tear gas.