Santiago, Oct 29: The resignation of eight key members of the Cabinet is not sufficient to calm down violent protests, rather thousands of protesters returned to the streets of the Chilean capital, calling for President Sebastian Pinera’s resignation.
Protesters were seen clashing violently with security forces in street battles. Pinera replaced eight key members of his Cabinet, including the Ministers of Interior, Finance and Labor, as well as the Secretariat of the Presidency, which is akin to the Chief of Staff. Pinera sacked interior minister Andres Chadwick,who came under fire last week for calling protesters “criminals”.
According to Pinera’s official Twitter account, the purpose of the change was to allow for open dialogue and justice in an attempt to solve the biggest political crisis since the country’s transition to democracy in 1990. The move comes two days after the President asked all of his ministers to resign.
Chilean President’s efforts to contain the protests has failed. The country has been paralyzed due to violent protests leading to the deaths of at least 20 people and businesses lost $1.4billion. He pledged to boost the minimum wage and pensions, lower the prices of medicines and public transportation and assure proper health insurance.
“Our government has heard the loud and clear message of Chileans asking for, and deserving, a more just country with solidarity, greater equal opportunity and less privilege,” Pinera said on Monday during a ceremony held here at the presidential headquarters.
“Chile has changed and the government has to change too,” to face the new reality in one of Latin America’s most developed countries, he added.
The United Nations team will arrive to investigate allegations of human rights abuses as Pinera’s popularity is at an all-time low
About 1.2 million people took to the streets of Santiago on october 25 after a week of demonstrations against small pensions, low quality of the educational and health systems, and the high cost of basic services, inequality and spiralling costs of living among other things.
Chile, the world’s top copper producer, has long boasted one of Latin America’s most prosperous and stable economies.