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Monday, 18 January 2021

Chilean President Pinera to shake up cabinet amid protests

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Chilean President Pinera to shake up cabinet amid protests
Chilean President Pinera to shake up cabinet amid protests

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Saturday he would shake up his cabinet to quell a week of mass protests against inequality that has rocked the South American nation.

Jonah Green reports.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Saturday he would shake up his cabinet to quell a week of mass protests against inequality that have rocked the South American nation.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CHILEAN PRESIDENT SEBASTIAN PINERA, SAYING: "I have put all my ministers on notice in order to restructure my cabinet to confront these new demands and take care of the new times." His announcement follows a peaceful rally late Friday that saw 1 million Chileans flood the streets to call for reforms to the country´s social and economic model.

Protests began over a hike in subway fares more than a week ago but boiled into riots that have killed at least 17 people, resulted in more than 7,000 arrests and caused more than $1.4 billion of losses to Chilean businesses.

The riots prompted Pinera to declare “war” on vandals and put the military in charge of security across much of the country.

Santiago has been on lockdown every night this week, with strict curfews enforced by thousands of heavily armed soldiers on the streets.

The move sparked outrage among many in Chile, who said his words and actions harkened back to the grim era of military rule under dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The center-right Pinera, a billionaire businessman, called for a new “social pact,” earlier this week in response to protesters’ demands.

He has promised to boost the minimum wage and pensions, ditch fare hikes on public transportation and fix the country’s ailing health care system.Pinera did not announce the specifics of the reshuffle, nor did he say when he would announce them.

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