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Chileans demand constitution reform

 
 
 
 
 
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Chileans have held a demonstration in the capital, Santiago, to demand constitutional reform.

Protesters marched through Santiago streets on Saturday to urge the administration of President Michelle Bachelet to follow pledges to address constitutional reform in issues such as social inequality through an overhaul of education and healthcare systems.

The “march of all marches” demonstration called for changes to the constitution by also addressing the issue of autonomy for indigenous territories and free and good quality education.

Some protesters said the march was not against or in support of Bachelet and that it just intended to warn the officials that Chileans will stick to their demands and expectations from the government.

The Saturday demonstration is the first protest against Bachelet, who took office less than two weeks ago. It is also the biggest political protest in the country since massive student protests against the previous center-right government in 2011.

Organizers said the protest has attracted some 100,000 people, but police say the number is some 25,000.

Student protesters said they would not take part in the demonstration as they have been working with Bachelet on an education reform package that will soon be sent to congress.

Bachelet succeeded conservative Sebastian Pinera in the elections of December 2013, following a campaign of promises to finance education reform with higher corporate taxes, improve health care, and fight inequality.

Bachelet is serving a second term as Chile’s president.

The 62-year-old moderate socialist previously held office from 2006 to 2010 as Chile’s first female president.

Bachelet enjoyed an 84-percent approval rating when she left office, thanks to using government reserves to help the poor in Chile.

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