situation report

Chile: President Announces Crackdown on Protest Violence

1 MIN READNov 8, 2019 | 16:55 GMT

What Happened: Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has announced plans to assemble an intelligence team to focus on protests, as well as submit several bills to Congress to raise penalties for demonstrators who engage in violence and vandalism, Reuters reported Nov. 7. At the same time, Pinera said the government would kick off a dialogue process with citizens in the week of Nov. 11 that would include discussions on constitutional reform.

Why It Matters: Pinera is attempting to maintain a balancing act between fostering dialogue with the opposition and cracking down on more radical protesters. However, his strategy could backfire by inflaming public sentiment over greater suppression against demonstrators.

Background: Protests began in Santiago and other cities in early October. Initially triggered by a minor fare hike on the Santiago metro, the demonstrations reflect grievances against the government's pro-market economic policies, inequality and the high cost of living.

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