SANTIAGO – One of the two International Workers Day marches held in Chile’s capital on Tuesday ended in clashes and with an indefinite number of arrests, authorities said.
The first march, organized by the CUT labor federation, involved thousands of people and ended peacefully.
The second demonstration, however, which was organized by the CCT labor union, was infiltrated by several masked militants who set up barricades, set fire to objects and clashed with riot police, who responded with water cannons.
The CUT’s president, Barbara Figueroa, told journalists that this year’s May Day march was “much larger than what many had expected.”
“We represent union members and there is no other organization that has the capacity to organize such a large demonstration,” she said.
In her speech to CUT union members, Figueroa said “decent work not only means more jobs; decent work requires following the key principle of valuing and dignifying workers as individuals with rights.”
“Chile is our home, but today many people continue to in live poverty,” Figueroa added, urging politicians and public institutions to fulfill their promises.
May Day marches were held in many other Chilean cities, including in Iquique, Coquimbo, Valparaiso and Concepcion.