In the capitals of Europe on Wednesday and Thursday (12/13 September) thousands of left-wing demonstrators marched in protest against the military coup in Chile that overthrew Dr.
In the capitals of Europe on Wednesday and Thursday (12/13 September) thousands of left-wing demonstrators marched in protest against the military coup in Chile that overthrew Dr. Salvador Allende and his socialist government.
Dr. Allende had been in power for only three of his scheduled six years. However, over the past year he faced mounting difficulties culminating in a strike by lorry owners which began in July and almost brought the Chilean economy to a halt. As the economic situation deteriorated middle-class resentment of Dr. Allende's socialist policies grew. On Monday the opposition parties called on the President to resign. He refused and on Tuesday the armed forces moved against him.
Dr. Allende died on Tuesday (11 September). A military communique said that he had taken his own life.
Reaction in Europe to the overthrow of the Allende Government has been sharp. Apart from the demonstrators on the streets, European leaders have spoken out against the coup. In Bonn, West German President Herr Willy Brandt expressed deep sorrow while Dr. Joop de Uyl, the Dutch Prime Minister, said, "It is bitter that this democrat has had to see his Government smashed." The Swedish Government has frozen four million pounds sterling in aid that it planned to grant Chile, while the Soviet Communist Party has denounced what it termed "the actions of reactionary forces in Chile. "Support for the coup in Europe has come only from the newspapers of Spain. The influential "ABC" described the coup as an "urgent surgical operation."
Meanwhile in Chile itself sporadic firing is still reported on the streets of the capital, Santiago. Over a 1,000 Allende supporters are reported. to have died in the fighting.
The military junta, composed of the chiefs of the army, navy, air force and military police have declared Parliament in recess and have promised to "eradicate" Marxism from Chile. It is expected that all left-wing parties will be banned.