8 Chilean ministers replaced in response to protests

Santiago: Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has replaced eight ministers in response to the ongoing anti-government protests.

“Our government has heard the loud and clear message of Chileans asking for, and deserving, a more just country with solidarity, greater equal opportunity and less privilege,” Xinhua news agency quoted Pinera as saying on Monday during a ceremony held here at the presidential headquarters.

“Chile has changed and the government has to change too,” to face the new reality in one of Latin America’s most developed countries, he added.

Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, a 63-year-old cousin of the President and one of his closest aides, was replaced by 41-year-old Gonzalo Blumel, who has been with Pinera since he started a second term in 2018.

Finance Minister Felipe Larrain was replaced by Ignacio Briones, Chile’s former Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Two new appointments were made in the Ministry of the Secretary-General of the Presidency.

Economy, Labour, National Resources and Sports Ministers were also changed.

Some 1.2 million people took to the streets of Santiago on october 25 after a week of demonstrations against small pensions, low quality of the educational and health systems, and the high cost of basic services, among other things.

So far, at least 19 people have been killed in clashes with security forces and other protests-related violence, 1,132 people injured, and 3,243 people arrested, according to a Monday report by Chile’s National Human Rights Institute.