[QODLink]
Americas

Chileans rally to demand promised reforms

Tens of thousands gather in Santiago to send message to President Bachelet she must follow through on election promises.

Last updated: 22 Mar 2014 22:21
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Protesters marched through central Santiago [Reuters]

Tens of thousands of protesters have marched in Chile to press Michelle Bachelet to follow through on ambitious reforms she pledged before assuming the presidency less than two weeks ago.

The protest on Saturday in central Santiago, dubbed "the march of all marches", was the first of Bachelet's new term and the biggest political demonstration since huge student protests in 2011.

Organisers said at least 100,000 people were present, even without core groups of student protesters active in the past. Those activists said they would not take part because they were working with Bachelet on education reforms soon be sent to Congress.

The march underscored lingering frustrations in Chile, which has one of the region's widest inequality gaps. It also raised expectations following four years of rule by the unpopular Sebastian Pinera.

Protesters said the march was a warning sign they would not go easy on Bachelet.

"This is not a protest against Bachelet or for her, it's just an alert for the political class so they know people have demands," said Oscar Rementeria, a spokesman for gay rights group, Movilh.

The 40 activist groups that helped fill the streets supported causes ranging from environmental protection to gay and indigenous rights.

Protesters also called for a new constitution to replace the one in place since Augusto Pinochet's 17-year-old dictatorship. Bachelet has backed a new constitution.

Bachelet has said she wants to address social inequality by overhauling education and healthcare, funded by tax reforms.

245

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.