Thousands of demonstrators on Friday gathered onto the street of capital Santiago to pressurize President Sebastian Pinera into taking “serious steps” to reduce inequality in the country battling a social upheaval for the last 50 days.
Chileans marched at the Plaza Italia, which has been the epicentre of protests for the last seven weeks, the protesters held a show of strength after days of dwindling numbers.
Although the march progressed peacefully, focusing on the demands, clashes were reported between young protesters and officers of the central police force Carabineros in the streets adjacent to Plaza Italia.
Hundreds of people also gathered at the Costanera Center shopping mall – next to South America’s tallest skyscraper Gran Torre Santago – with dozens of protesters entering the premises.
Earlier in the month, President Pinera submitted a proposal to offer aid to poor households.
The proposal, a bill of 124 US dollars per month in cash assistance to 1.3 million families, would cost the country some 185 million dollars in subsidies.
The state-run National Human Rights Institute said that there had been 685 complaints of excessive use of force by the security forces.
The violent protests that started in mid-October prompting the government to declare a state of emergency and the deployment of soldiers in the provinces of Santiago and Chacabuco, as well as in the Metropolitan municipalities of Puente Alto and San Bernardo.
Clashes broke out between the protesters and the police in several parts of the city throughout the day and the subway was shut after attacks on several stations.
The crisis is the worst in three decades of Chilean democracy and has led to around 2,000 injuries, including some 280 people who suffered eye damage from shotgun pellets.
Although Chile has the highest per capita income of Latin America at $20,000, there is widespread frustration at privatized health care and education, rising costs of basic services and falling pensions.
(With inputs from agency)