A bid to ease Chile's crippling lorry-owners' strike by forcibly taking over 1,000 vehicles failed on Friday night (August 10) when 500 armed police - backed by three armoured cars - were strongly resisted by strikers as they tried to storm a truck compound on the outskirts of Santiago.
GV Pan Trucks and lorries in pound
SV Police watch as lorry backs towards barricade
SV Police searching man
GV Pan from flooded field to heavy vehicle forming part of barricade
GV and LV Helicopter brings in Transport Official Faivovich (3 shots)
GV Police moving into vehicle pound
SV Pan Police in armoured car
GV Teargas exploding
CU Policeman in gas mask
LV and CU (Night shots) Military armoured vehicles passing through fire barricade (6 shots)
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Background: A bid to ease Chile's crippling lorry-owners' strike by forcibly taking over 1,000 vehicles failed on Friday night (August 10) when 500 armed police - backed by three armoured cars - were strongly resisted by strikers as they tried to storm a truck compound on the outskirts of Santiago.
President Salvador Allende's concern over the threat of a serious food and fuel crisis if the 18-day strike continues prompted the government to take this desperate measure. The police used teargas to try and disperse owners guarding the compound, but were met with stubborn resistance.
Eventually the operation, which was conducted personally by Transport Under-Secretary Jaime Faivovich, was called off after only three trucks had been moved from the pen.
Chile's 45,000 lorry owners are defying President Allende's order to put their vehicles back on the road. Meanwhile the country's stocks of food, petrol and kerosene have begun to run oritically low.
The lorry owners are standing by their union's demand that the government sack Senor Faivevich - who they claim acted illegally during earlier requisition operations - as a minimum condition for returning to work. Original cause of the stoppage was owners' demands for better supplies of spare parts for their vehicles.
SYNOPSIS: In a compound near Santiago a thousand lorries stand idle as the vehicle owners continue their strike. The eighteen-day steppage has caused Chile's supplies of fuel and food to run dangerously low.
Altogether forty-five thousand Chilean lorry owners are involved in the strike, which began originally over their demands for more spare parts for their vehicles. They have ignored an order by President Salvador Allende to return to work to avert the supplies crisis which seems certain to make life very difficult for the whole country in a few days time. So on Friday the government decided to enter this particular compound by force to requisition the lorries.
Transport Under-Secretary Jaime Faivovich flew in to supervise the operation personally - which made the striking owners more determined than ever to resist. One of the main conditions for their return to work in that Faivovich should be sacked for his conduct during previous requisition moves by the government. Five-hundred heavily armed police prepared to storm the compound, backed by armoured cars. They used teargas to try and disperse the lorry-owners guarding the compound before moving in....
But the whole operation was a flop. hampered by strong resistance from the strikers...and thick mud in the compound...the police only managed to get three truck out of the besieged compound. And Senor Faivovich called a halt to the requisition attempt. To night finished with lorry owners insisting more emphatically than even that the Transport Under-Secretary should be replaced before they would put their vehicles back on the roads again.