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Chilean teachers demand resignation of minister after she called for celebration of 1973 coup

CHILEAN teachers demanded the immediate resignation of a regional minister on Sunday following her social media post celebrating 1973’s Washington-backed bloody right-wing coup against president Salvador Allende.

Silvia Alvarez Matthews, who oversees education in Chile’s Atacama region, called for the September 11 anniversary of the overthrow of the democratically elected government to be celebrated by “all well-born Chileans.”

Her remark prompted outrage and calls from trade unions and the Teachers College of Atacama for her to step down from her position as regional education secretary.

“We find it inconceivable that an authority, and in particular from the area of education in our region, makes a publication that openly incites hatred, denialism and mockery of a day of so much pain for our country, disrespecting the tragedy that millions of Chileans lived and still live,” a joint statement from teachers’ unions said.

The coup led to a bloody dictatorship headed by General Augusto Pinochet that lasted from 1973 until 1990 in which at least 40,000 people were killed or “disappeared.”

The unions blasted the “insensitivity to boast of celebrating at the expense of something that meant the suffering, torture and disappearance of so many compatriots.”

Ms Alvarez Matthews, who has a background as a history teacher, has not commented further.

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