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The Anger of the Common People, 2019 Chilean Protest

Since a new transit fare was announced in Chile, on October 6th, citizens organized a massive protest. The rate hike by 30 Chilean pesos per trip sparked the dissatisfaction of Chilean citizens regarding persistent economic inequality. Surprised by the citizens’ aggressive response, the Chilean government hurriedly withdrew its announcement, but it was too late. Because of Chile’s high prices and high lending interest by financial institutions, the living cost of Chile has steadily gone up. Furthermore, despite the low minimum wage of Chile, which is less than one-third of Korea’s, those earning minimum wage has already been spending around 14% of their income on public transportation. Also, though Chile is the second richest country in terms of GDP per capita in South America as of 2018, the country is experiencing the worst “rich-get-richer and poor-get-poorer” cycle among OECD countries. To stop the protest, Chile’s president, Piñera, has proposed that the government could slightly raise the minimum wage. The protests, however, are only getting more intense. The protesters are now plundering shops, damaging the government buildings, and are extending their protesting area to the safer wealthy areas. As the protests intensify, the debate about whether the Chilean government is using excessive force to put down the protests is raging up. According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Chile, hundreds of lawsuits reporting killing, torturing, and raping by the police have been filed.

김도영  takeiteasy0528@naver.com

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