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Thousands in Chile mark V-Day with anti-govt protests

Santiago, Feb 15 (IANS) Thousands of people took gathered in the Chilean capital Santiago, to celebrate Valentine’s Day by demanding the resignation of the controversial national police chief who is accused of human rights violations during ongoing civil unrest in the country.

Friday’s gathering at the Plaza Italia, which took place in a generally peaceful and festive atmosphere, had been announced on social networks as “Valentine’s Day without Rozas”, demanding the ouster of General Mario Rozas, head of the Carabineros or Chile’s militarized national police, reports Efe news.

The peaceful gathering was a contrast to last week’s clashes between protesters and police at the Plaza Italia, one of the most popular sites of protests in the country.

Although protests have lost some momentum in recent days, demonstrations were expected to gather steam again with students returning to classes after the summer break and planning to protest against the upcoming annual Vina del Mar International Song Festival

The festival is set to be held between February 23-28 in the coastal city of Vina del Mar, with the organizers deciding to hold it austerely, without a red carpet or the opening gala.

Widespread protests broke out in the country last October that led to the cancellation of other international events such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) and the Copa Libertadores football tournament.

This has been the biggest social uprising in the country since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) with at least 30 people killed and thousands injured.

What began as a protest by Chilean students against the increase in metro fares in the capital quickly morphed into a general social uprising.




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