[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
Whatever the referendum's outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.
Traders and farmers struggle to cope as restrictions on travel prevent them from doing business and attending to crops.
Unique mobile messaging service, mMitra, helps poor pregnant women in Mumbai fight against maternal mortality.
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
join our mailing list