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Thousands call for Pinera to go in Chile as talks on new constitution proceed

THOUSANDS demonstrated in central Santiago on Monday calling for the resignation of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

The rally called for better pensions and justice for the 26 people killed and thousands injured in the government’s brutal crackdown on protests that shook the country last month.

Others rallied outside the Supreme Court wearing eyepatches to symbolise the loss of sight in an eye by an estimated 230 protesters shot in the face with pellet guns.

Mr Pinera admitted on Sunday that “excessive force” had been used in putting down protesters with “legitimate social demands.” He said there would be “no impunity” for police who had committed acts of violence.

The president has repeatedly retreated before the scale of the protests in Chile, which at their height brought 1.2 million people onto the streets of Santiago — forcing him to promise the resignation of his ministers and to claim he had “listened” and “changed” — having previously claimed the protests were masterminded by the nation’s enemies, supposedly including the Venezuelan government.

But opposition groups say the government is resisting popular demands for a new constitution to replace the one written during the era of US-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet.

A referendum will be held in April on whether to change the constitution and to determine how a new one will be drafted. A letter signed by numerous opposition parties, including the Communist Party, Progressive Party, Social Convergence Party, Common Party and Humanist Party, backs calls from the country’s town and city mayors for a consultation on the process on December 7.

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