Indiana Daily Student

36 years later, 9/11 protests erupt

SANTIAGO, Chile - Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance and commemoration for those who have died – including the former president of Chile.  

Surprised? This day not only carries significance for us in the United States but also for the people of Chile. Despite the 36 years since the death of President Salvador Allende, tensions still rise high in Chile on Sept. 11 and divide the people.

For some, it is a day of commemoration and remembrance of the death of former President Allende. For others, it is a day of happiness and joy – the day that a new leader, Augosto Pinochet, came into power.  

Thirty-six years ago on Sept. 11, 1973, a military coup led by Pinochet overthrew President Allende. As the Palacio de la Moneda (the main government building of Santiago) was being stormed, President Allende committed suicide on the red velvet-lined couch by his desk.

Allende was a Marxist Socialist elected democratically in November 1970. With the possible involvement of the Nixon administration, Pinochet took power that day.
Little did anyone know

Pinochet would become a fascist military dictator and his regime would commit all sorts of human rights violations until 1990, when he peacefully stepped down and democratic rule resumed in Chile.

The history of Chile during the last 40 years is still a very sensitive issue today. Some Chileans believe that the torture and violations of human rights during the Pinochet regime never happened.

Others say he was a good leader as long as you kept your mouth shut like you were supposed to. Others were deeply affected, having loved ones die during his regime, and are strongly against everything he represented.  

Therefore, this Sept. 11, the beautiful sunny weather could not mask the tension floating in the air.

Each year at this time, it is particularly dangerous to be around the Palacio de La Moneda, the site of Allende’s death, or around the Cementerio General, where his tomb resides. The south side of town and La Ahumado, the central street of Santiago,
are frequently the sites of protests.

This year, one protest in particular got out of control. On the outskirts of Santiago, hundreds of hooded figures were blocking streets and setting bonfires. One young man, Alexis Rojas Garcia, 23, was shot in the head and killed during the commotion.
It is unclear whether he was participating in the protest or if he was simply caught up in it. Four police officers were also hospitalized after trying to get things under control.

Besides the protests, current President Michelle Bachelet gave a speech during a remembrance ceremony for former President Allende. Then she and Isabel Allende, daughter of the late leader, lay white roses on the couch he died on, which still remains intact in the Palacio de La Moneda.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Indiana Daily Student