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Chile Still Tense After Protests; Victim Buried

July 05, 1986|From Times Wire Services

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile remained tense Friday after two days of strikes and protests against the military government of President Augusto Pinochet, in which at least six people died.

A crowd of 1,000 mourners chanting anti-government slogans marched through Santiago slums to bury the first of the protest victims, witnesses said.

Earlier, troops were stationed around the La Victoria slum district, where 24-year-old Boris Vera was shot from an unmarked van on the eve of the protest, but they withdrew before the funeral procession began. Riot police watched the procession from a distance.

Journalists Stage Protest

In Santiago's business center, dozens of journalists, their mouths "muzzled" by handkerchiefs, marched to the presidential palace to deliver a letter protesting censorship of four opposition radio stations.

Police blocked their way at one point and sprayed tear gas at them. Water cannon and tear-gas vans then cruised area streets, scattering shoppers and office workers who were out to lunch.

At a press conference, Pinochet accused opposition leaders of trying to impose a "Nicaraguan model" on Chile, referring to the 1979 revolution that brought the leftist Sandinista government to power there.

"The dilemma here is order or chaos," Pinochet said.

Pinochet's statements coincided with the resumption of bus and taxi services and the return to work by other Chileans involved in the strike.

17 Leaders in Hiding

Seventeen strike organizers charged with inciting the protests remained in hiding after a judge issued warrants for their arrest. The fugitives face up to five years in in prison if convicted.

The two-day strike by middle-class Chileans intent on driving Pinochet from office was called by a group of professional and labor organizations.

Shopkeepers and bus and truck drivers appeared most strongly to support the action, but it drew no appreciable support from other groups around the nation.

Police said at least six people were killed and 60 wounded in shooting since troops were deployed Wednesday in Santiago to quell the protests. They said the sixth death was that of a 19-year-old youth shot Thursday night in the middle-class section of Quilin.

A seventh death reported in the staunchly anti-Pinochet slum of La Legua could not be immediately confirmed.

More than 1,000 people were reported arrested over the two days, and police said there were 75 bombings.

Bursts of automatic gunfire were heard in many parts of Santiago until after midnight Thursday as troops tried to silence residents who banged empty saucepans in a traditional Chilean protest.

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