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Chilean anti-govt protests complete 50 days

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 Santiago, Dec 7 (IANS) Thousands of Chileans marched through the streets 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.

 Gathered at the Plaza Italia, which has been the epicenter of protests for the last seven weeks, the protesters on Friday held a show of strength after days of dwindling numbers, reports Efe news.

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.

After 50 days of protests in the country, at least 23 people have died in different acts of violence, with at least five of them getting killed due to alleged actions of the security forces.

The state-run National Human Rights Institute said on Friday that there had been 685 complaints of excessive use of force by the security forces.

The background to the sustained protests that have rocked the country is the neo-liberal economic model – which is considered the root of massive inequalities in the country – allegedly established through the 1980 constitution passed by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

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