Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Chile: A Million People Take to the Streets as the Government Extends State of Emergency

President Sebastián Piñera has taken a hard line against the popular movement in Chile. A million people took part in demonstrations throughout the country on Monday. In response, Piñera expanded the state of emergency to include eleven provinces.

Facebook Twitter Share

More than a million people took to the streets in Chile on Monday to protest the neoliberal regime of President Sebastián Piñera. From Arica to Punto Arenas, spontaneous demonstrations erupted in the streets of all the major cities of Chile, in conjunction with a national strike of dockworkers as well as miners from the northern region of the country.

In his most recent press conference, President Piñera announced repressive measures for the regions of Atacama and Los Lagos, increasing the total to eleven provinces under curfew and a state of emergency. These include Iquique and Pozo Almonte, Coquimbo and La Serena, Valparaiso, Rancagua, Concepcion, Valdivia, and Gran Santiago.

The military had toughened its response to the protest wave, firing live rounds against peaceful protesters in the Plaza Italia of Santiago and elsewhere. This increasingly militarized response on the part of the government has not deterred people from joining the demonstrations. Chants of “Chile has Awakened “ echo throughout the country.

Predictably, the President has branded the demonstrators as mobs of delinquents, and although this message has been broadcast by the big media outlets, it has not had the desired effect. The ranks of popular protest continue to swell.

In addition to the street demonstrations, a dockworker’s strike has shut down 20 ports. High School teachers in Antofagasta and Temuco are organizing emergency action committees. Miners have also begun to mobilize in the north. Their actions may soon spread to the working class in general, raising expectations for a huge turnout to overthrow the Piñera government.

In addition to the massive mobilization of more than 100,000 workers, students and women yesterday in Santiago, Healthcare workers organized open air assemblies of workers and neighborhood groups.

Young people have been an important factor, sparking popular momentum in the streets. In Valparaiso, students of the Playa Ancha University have occupied the regional government office, where they have organized emergency committees for increased popular mobilization to combat the state of emergency. High school students in Panguipulli, Osorno, and Coyhaique paralyzed classes and took to the streets in solidarity with protests throughout the country.

Meanwhile, Piñera repeats the same tired phrases: “Violence must not prevail in Chile, which is why we have called for an expansion of the curfew and state of emergency to eight additional provinces.”

At the same time that the president has increased military and police repression against the demonstrations, he has called for a meeting of leaders of the right-wing parties in an attempt to usher in a new social pact through parliamentary measures. But the chasm between his call for peace, and government-backed violence in the streets, demonstrates that the dictatorship can only be stopped by popular mobilization.

Towards a General Strike

We need more than a defense of democratic freedoms against authoritarian, bonapartist attacks. The goal is not only to put an end to the state of emergency, but to overthrow the government through a general strike. We are calling for the formation of a Constituent Assembly, with representatives elected for each 20,000 residents, who are subject to recall and earn a worker’s wage.

A truly free and sovereign constituent assembly can only be created on the ruins of the neo-Pinochetist regime. The existing institutions must be overthrown so that a truly representative, working-class government can take its place. Today democracy is in the streets, not among the old rotten institutions which stand against the popular and working classes.

First published in Spanish on October 21 on La Izquierda Diario Chile.

Translation: Greg McDonald

Facebook Twitter Share

La Izquierda Diario Chile

Our Chilean sister site, part of the international network of La Izquierda Diario

Latin America

The Fight against Javier Milei Has Set The Stage For a Whole New Wave of Struggle

The defeat of the Omnibus Law is a key victory for the movement against Javier Milei’s austerity plan and attacks on democratic rights. It shows that the working class and oppressed have the power to fight against the advance of the Far Right in Argentina and across the world.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

February 9, 2024

Defying Repression: Socialist Electeds in Argentina Show Us What Revolutionary Parliamentarism Looks Like

Workers in Argentina are defying police repression and fighting back against the far-right government’s shock therapy. Trotskyist members of congress are not just protesting inside the chamber — they are on the front lines of the demonstrations, getting pepper sprayed and shot with rubber bullets.

Nathaniel Flakin

February 9, 2024

Crisis for Javier Milei as Austerity Bill Is Defeated 

After a national strike and days of mobilizations, the movement in the streets has defeated far-right president Javier Milei’s anti-worker Omnibus Bill.

Otto Fors

February 7, 2024

“Internationalism is About What We’re Doing Here”: Speech Outside the Argentinian Consulate in NYC

Left Voice member Luigi Morris highlights the rise of the Far Right in Argentina, its connection to Zionism and U.S. imperialism, the role of Peronism in creating space for the Right, and how the revolutionary Left is fighting back.

Luigi Morris

February 1, 2024


Protesters at an evening protest in NY carry a sign that reads "from ferguson to palestine occupation is a crime"

This Black History Month, Let’s Fight for Palestinian Liberation

Black liberation struggles have always expressed solidarity with the struggle against the Zionist occupation of Palestine. This Black History Month, as Israel continues its genocide in Gaza, this tradition takes on a special importance.

Carmin Maffea

February 26, 2024
All That's Left, the podcast from Left Voice.

#AllThatsLeftPod: Two Years of War in Ukraine

On this episode of the podcast, we discuss the war in Ukraine after two years, and the continued need for an independent, working-class solution.

Left Voice

February 24, 2024

The Organic Crisis in 2024: This Year’s Election Is a Battle for the Hearts and Minds of U.S. Workers

The battle between Trump and Biden is being shaped by a crisis of the political regime, requiring the intervention of both the judiciary and the union bureaucracy. The battle for the presidency is a battle for the working class and a battle over which approach to imperialism is best for competing with China and reestablishing US hegemony. As usual, the Democrats are taking up the cudgel of democratic rights in order to rally disaffected voters.

Sybil Davis

February 23, 2024

The Tide Is Turning: New Yorkers Are Speaking Out for Palestinian Liberation

New York's anti-zionist movement is is rising up and speaking out for Palestinian liberation.

Ana Orozco

February 23, 2024