The Social Unity Board, which called the nationwide strike on Tuesday, November 12, announced that an estimated 2 million people joined the efforts, including an estimated 90 percent of the private sector. They underlined their main focus of establishing a constituent assembly, rejecting government's proposal of a constituent congress for any changes to the constitution.
Also on Tuesday, opposing parties signed a proposal to call for a referendum to convene a constituent assembly with representation across several sectors.
In Santiago, several roads were blocked to vehicular traffic and street fires and looting were reported. There was also a building fire near Plaza Italia, in direct proximity to protests. Additional protests were reported in Concepcion, resulting in another fire, at a government building, which was later evacuated. Barricades erected by protesters in Antofagasta prompted significant transportation disruptions. Protesters in Punta Arenas also protested.
Classes have been suspended for Wednesday, November 13, as protests descend into violence on Tuesday.
Additional protests are largely expected in the capital region on Wednesday, though very little information is available regarding where and when they will begin. Transportation disruptions will continue in Santiago, particularly in the metro system and due to congestion. Other protests, including spontaneous ones, are to be expected daily across other urban centers in Chile. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are expected at all demonstrations. Clashes cannot be ruled out.
On November 7, President Sebastian Piñera announced a new series of security measures meant to criminalize protests. The laws include bans on barricades, blockades, looting, violence, and boosting of surveillance.
Demonstrations began on October 6 after the Chilean government announced an increase in metro and bus fares. The mass protests escalated in Santiago and other cities over the following days to denounce high costs of living, rising electricity prices, the privatization of water, and other social issues. Some estimates indicate that 7000 people have been arrested and 20 people have been killed since the start of the protests. Movement participants have now begun to call for the creation of a new Constitution through a constituent assembly in order to replace the current charter of rights (magna carta) which dates back to Pinochet's dictatorship. Government has proposed instead a constituent congress, which would instead allow legislators to rewrite the constitution for the public's approval or rejection via referendum
Police have continued to use water cannons and tear gas, among other methods of crowd control, which international human rights organizations have denounced as violations. Some estimates state that over 150 people have been left blind or partially blind since the start of the protests. As of November 10, the National Institute of Human Rights states that 5629 people are detained and 2009 people are hospitalized.
Individuals in Chile, particularly in Santiago, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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