Santiago, Chile, Mar 16, 2020 / 15:01 pm
The Standing Committee of the Chilean bishops’ conference has said that the country's government is too slow to respond to the concerns of protesters who have been demonstrating across Chile for nearly six months.
Anti-government demonstrations began in mid-October in Santiago over a now-suspended increase in subway fares. Other regions joined in the protests, expanding their grievances to inequality and the cost of healthcare.
A number of churches across Chile have been attacked and looted amid the demonstrations.
Protest marches in Chile often start our peacefully, but end up with clashes between the police and masked protesters, who often turn to attacking churches as well as public and private property.
Police and demonstrators have clashed and the police have used excessive force in an attempt to restore order, resulting in hundreds of eye injuries due to the use of rubber bullets. At least 36 people have died during the protests.
The protests continue, despite curfews imposed in some parts of the country. Some demonstrators say they will continue until the country’s president steps down.
“Almost five months have gone by and Chile’s awakening has not been addressed with the speed and effectiveness expected in such grave matters as the unjust distribution of income, employment instability, minimum wages and pensions, the urgent need for access to healthcare, the just valuation of women in society and the protection of the most vulnerable groups, among other issues,” the bishops' committee said in a March 12 statement.
“We see that the main demands of society … have been put off in the priorities of those who make the decisions in Chile,” the bishops added.