Chile protesters clash with police

At least 185 detained in march to remember deaths under military rule.

    Police used tear gas on the protesters [Reuters]
    At least 185 people have been detained in Chilean capital after police clashed with protesters marching in rememberance of two brothers killed under the military rule of Augusto Pinochet, the former military ruler.

    Police in Santiago used tear gas and water cannons against the 300 protesters taking part in Friday's march, many of whom were students and their supporters.

    Armoured vehicles sped through the streets spraying clouds of tear gas, as police rounded up youths and bundled them into buses.

    The protests were also aimed at Chile's capitalist-style economic model and the government, which the groups say manipulates the education system to favour the wealthy and exclude the poor.

    "We think this neo-liberal education system that the government has introduced should be stopped," said Saray Acevedo, of the National Popular Co-ordinator of Students.

    Small blasts

    Two small bomb blasts have rocked banks in the run-up to Saturday's anniversary of Day of the Young Combatant.

    The day marks the deaths of two brothers, Eduardo and Rafael Vergara, during Pinochet's 1973-90 military rule.

    Michelle Bachelet, the Chilean president, condemned the violence.

    "Democracy in Chile is solid and there is no justification for violence," she said.

    "If one wants to pay homage to the tremendous tragedy of the Vergara brothers, during a period when Chile was not democratic, the right thing to do is guarantee that democracy means being able to express yourself but without violence."

    Bachelet was herself briefly detained and tortured along with her mother under Pinochet's rule, in which nearly 3,200 people were killed.


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