Chile’s government on Friday said that it is backing away from a plan to cut corporate taxes following two weeks of protests fed by anger of inequality.
Tens of thousands were demonstrating again in the capital on Friday, continuing protests that have shaken the country and forced the cancelation of two major international summits that had been scheduled to take place in Santiago.
Small groups of rock-throwing demonstrators clashed with police, who responded by firing tear gas to disperse the crowd.
However, the demonstrations on the second day of a four-day weekend holiday were largely peaceful and included many parents with children who chanted, jumped and danced.
Thousands of women carrying white carnations and dressed in black also marched along the city’s main avenue to mourn the 20 people who have been killed since a proposed hike in subway fares this month set off the 15 days of protests that morphed into a call for deep-rooted changes.
Hundreds have also been injured in looting, arson and clashes with police and soldiers.
With Chilean President Sebastian Pinera facing massive demonstrations featuring demands for higher wages, better pensions and improved healthcare, his treasury secretary on Friday announced that the government is dropping a plan for business tax breaks.
Opposition leaders said that was not enough and like many protesters, they demand a new constitution to replace the 1980 charter written under former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, which allows many social services and natural resources, including water, to be wholly or partially privatized.
Pinera on Wednesday said that he was canceling an APEC summit and the UN Climate Change Conference, which were planned for this month and next respectively, due to the chaos unleashed by the protests in one of the wealthiest, but most unequal counties in Latin America.
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