Incidents occurred on Sunday in Santiago between police and demonstrators during a march in which President Gabril Boric participated, in memory of the victims of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the coup d’état having brought the Chilean general to power.

The left-wing president briefly joined the procession of some 5,000 people, according to the government, becoming the first Chilean leader to do so since the end of the dictatorship in 1990.

Protesters, however, threw stones at the presidential palace, breaking through security barriers and damaging access to a cultural center located in the building.

Clashes with police also took place in other parts of the city along the parade, with some demonstrators throwing molotov cocktails and erecting flaming barricades.

Inside the cemetery which houses a memorial to victims of the Pinochet regime, some mausoleums were damaged, including that of a right-wing senator.

“As President of the Republic, I categorically condemn these events (…) The irrationality of attacking what Allende and so many other democrats fought for is despicable,” Mr. Boric reacted on his X account (ex-Twitter).

Three police officers were injured and three people arrested, according to the government.

On September 11, 1973, General Pinochet seized power by overthrowing President Allende, who committed suicide in the presidential palace. Then began a bloody dictatorship, officially responsible for 3,200 murders and disappearances.

Most participants in the march, carrying Chilean flags and chanting slogans such as “Truth and justice now!” or “Allende is alive”, however marched calmly.

“With this march, we remember that 1973 broke democracy in Chile and that we continue to fight to maintain and strengthen it,” said Luis Pontigo, 72, a retired teacher.

In the morning, Mr. Boric inaugurated an exhibition dedicated to the memory of Salvador Allende at the presidential palace of La Moneda, in the presence of members of the late socialist leader’s family.

10/09/2023 19:32:31 –         Santiago (Chili) (AFP) –         © 2023 AFP