The demonstrations, which began due to the increase in the price of the metro, expanded and saw the convergence of all the Chilean, environmental, workers, students, feminist and indigenous social movements.
This is a revolt against neoliberalism, inequalities and even impunity for the state apparatuses heirs of the Pinochet period. “No son 30 pesos, son 30 años”, “It is not about 30 pesos, it is because of 30 years”, they exclaim in the streets.
Chilean people are suffering low wages and precarious jobs; the high costs of basic services, medicines and food; the private and class character of health and education systems; the very poor retirements of older adults; the expensive and unworthy of public transport; the privatization of water and other natural resources, an increase in the number of suicides of young and the elderly. Chile, despite its last decades economic growth, is one of the ten most unequal countries in the world.
The government’s response was brutal repression. State of emergency and curfew, arbitrary arrests of social leaders, torture, violence. Pinera has declared “we are at war”. The Chilean people responded with even greater mobilizations. On 25 October, demonstrations with millions of people take place in Santiago and in all major cities.
After October 25th, the government changes its strategy. Announces the end of the state of emergency, a series of social measures, and a government reshuffle using conciliatory words. However, the demonstrations continue, throughout Chile. Just as repression continues. The movement does not have a recognized leadership. There is a network of associations and social movements, the Mesa of Unidad Social, which unites most of the disputes and struggles. We met most of them.
At the same time, the self-organized territorial assemblies, the cabildos, where thousands of people meet and build claims and mobilizations, play a key role.
On the left’s initiative, the parliamentary opposition has joined in the request for a constituent assembly. To change the constitution derived from the dictatorship, its authoritarian and neoliberal character. The request for a constituent assembly has become one of the demands of the movement. Along with the request for the resignation of Piñera and radical social reforms.
The PC and the Frente amplio have also submitted an impeachment request for Piñera, for the repeated and serious violations of human rights that have occurred in recent days. Just two days ago, the government opened reforms to the constitution. Now the question is about the method. Reforms through the congress, or constituent assembly? The opposition, from the PC to Christian democracy, approved in the congress a request for a popular plebiscite to decide how to proceed.
The mobilizations continue, despite the repression and police violence. Also in November 12th 2019 there was a general strike and mass demonstrations.