Peaceful protests have been taking place in Santiago in Chile on Friday with protestors calling on the government to tackle inequality. An estimated one million people or around 5% of the country’s population took part in the march on Saturday which saw participants walking around the city with flags and calling for reform. Protests also took place in other Chilean cities, and some protestors were calling for the resignation of Sebastián Piñera, the President of Chile.
What has the government said about the protests?
The Chilean President said on Twitter that the government had ‘heard the message’. He said, “We have all changed. Today’s joyful and peaceful march, in which Chileans have asked for a more just and unified Chile, opens hopeful paths into the future,”
Why did the protests begin?
The protests originally began due to an increase in metro fares, although that increase has since been suspended. Protestors are now demanding action to tackle wider problems, including living costs and inequality. While the protests on Friday were peaceful, hundreds have been injured and at least 16 people have died in the recent protests, some of which have been violent. There have been instances of arson and other crimes in Santiago and other cities. More than 7,000 people are thought to have been detained during the protests, and the city of Santiago has entered a state of emergency, with night-time curfews.
Do the protests look likely to end soon?
A package of reforms which was hoped would end the protests was offered earlier this week including proposed increases to the minimum wage and pensions. However, the proposed reforms don’t seem to have had much impact as protests have continued. Meanwhile, the United Nations has called for an independent investigation into the protests after 11 people were killed in related riots.