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Chile: Fire and Tear Gas As Anti-Government Protesters Hit Santiago

Hundreds of protesters clashed with police as they hit the streets in Santiago’s Plaza Badequano on Friday, amid growing discontent over Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s policies.

Footage shows objects set alight in the streets, with police forces trying to disperse the crowds by deploying tear gas and water cannons. Police vehicles were also met with a hail of stones by protesters. The unrest came on the same day as Minister of Education Marcela Cubillos resigned from her post.

The country has been rocked by protests since last October, with students demonstrating against a now-withdrawn increase in transports fares, and later turned into a wider movement against social inequality.

A constitutional referendum is set to take place in Chile on April 26, in a concession to one of the protesters key demands, with citizens set to be asked if they want a new constitution, and if so whether it should be drafted by a convention of citizens and parliamentarians, or by an all-citizen convention.

According to recent polling, around 70 percent of the population is in favour of drafting a new constitution, which would replace the current one that was written during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

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