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    Chileans Strike Against Pinera Government


    by NTDTelevision

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    Chilean unions launched a national strike against the government. Protesters clashed with police after setting up barricades with burning tires.

    Protesters barricaded roads and burned tires in parts of Chile's capital on Wednesday as a two-day national strike began against unpopular President Sebastian Pinera.

    But mining in the world's top copper producer was not disrupted.

    The strike, called by Chile's main umbrella labor union CUT, got off to a raucous start with demonstrators clashing with police.

    Protester demands went beyond educational change, ranging from a new constitution to a revamped tax system.

    Public transportation was running and banks were open.

    While some miners said they supported the strike, operations at some of the world's biggest copper mines were not affected.

    While previous governments have faced one-day national strikes, it was the first 48-hour national strike since the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

    Pinera, who took power a year-and-a-half ago and appointed a Cabinet filled with technocrats, has alienated many Chileans with his policies.

    He is less than halfway through his four-year term.

    While Latin America's model economy is seen expanding 6.6 percent this year, many ordinary Chileans feel they are not sharing in an economic miracle fueled by high copper prices.