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.
The bishops said that they share "people's reasonable discontentment with regard to the role that the authorities, legislators, and political and social leaders are assuming in face of these dramas."
"We don't understand why the necessary corrections that are promised aren't making progress with the desired speed. The level of the political debate is disappointing with partisan squabbling and infighting, special interests or those of certain sectors of society, that are holding back agreements and accomplishments that would help the common good. Chile demands a fruitful dialogue in a context of civic friendship," they said.