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Over 1 Million People Take To Chilean Streets To Protest Billionaire President

Courtesy of Eion Higgins via CommonDreams.org

"Chile is not the same as it was yesterday…"

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera on Saturday said he would reshuffle his cabinet after over 1 million Chileans poured into city streets across the country Friday to demand structural reforms to the country’s government and economic system.

The move by Piñera came as the protest movement mobilized people in the capital Santiago and beyond.

Piñera made the announcement late Saturday morning.

Chilean senator Felipe Kast on Twitter credited the Friday protests with prompting Piñera's decision.

"A peaceful day that will leave its mark on our history," said Kast. "Chile is not the same as it was yesterday."

The protests kicked off on October 15 after high school students occupied subway stations in Santiago to protest fare hikes. The movement exploded from there as demonstrations quickly became about the country's neoliberal economic system and Piñera's government.

Piñera, in response to the protests, authorized a brutal crackdown on protesters by military and police forces. Video from the protests shared on social media showed police and soldiers attacking unarmed demonstrators.

Support for the protest movement poured in from across the world.

"The people of Chile have all my love and support," tweeted writer Naomi Klein. "Their courage is awe-inspiring."

Journalist Ben Norton called the protests a "massive rejection of neoliberalism" and linked to photos from the protests.

The demonstrators "represent the dream of a new Chile," tweeted Santiago Governor Karla Rubilar.

"Our country requires more dialogue and peaceful marches!" said Rubilar.

 


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