Thousands of angry, striking miners clashed with riot police on a highway about 50 miles (80 kms) from Santiago on Friday (15 June).
Thousands of angry, striking miners clashed with riot police on a highway about 50 miles (80 kms) from Santiago on Friday (15 June). The miners were marching on the capital city in force when they were confronted by armed police and armoured vehicles set on preventing them from entering the city. Fighting broke out, vehicles were fired, road blocks burned, shots exchanged, but the determined marchers managed to overcome the blocks and detoured, eventually reaching Santiago.
The 59-day strike at the giant El Tenients mine has forced Chile to suspend its vital copper exports and has bettered Marxist president Salvador Allende's Government, according to observers.
In a nationwide broadcast recently, Interior Minister Gerardo Espinoza said the Government were prepared to listen to the strikers demands but would not tolerate violence.
When the determined miners reached Santiago rioting broke out less than 300-yards (metres) from the Presidential Palace. Police used teargas and water cannon to control the violence. One man was reported killed and 64 injured.
Strike leaders have since met with President Allende and have described the talks as "positive". They gave no details.