Hundreds of people, most of them women, rattled saucepans and erected barricades in a populous southern Santiago neighborhood, demanding the approval of a third early withdrawal of pension funds to face the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic.
“No more false bonds; our 10% now,” read a poster raised by residents of the La Pintana commune, one of the poorest in the Chilean capital, in the run-up to the vote for the third early withdrawal of up to a 10% of the pension funds carried forward in the Senate.
The protesters rattled pots and pans and set fire to a barricade, in an event that paralyzed vehicular traffic for a few minutes.
At dawn, and for the second consecutive day, there were protests in other neighborhoods on the outskirts of Santiago, such as in the “Lo Hermida” sector, in the Peñalolén, Maipú and Pudahuel communes, which ended with at least nine detainees according to the Police .
In the port of San Antonio, in the Valparaíso region, there was also a protest by port workers, who declared themselves “on alert” against the possibility that the third early withdrawal would not take place after the decision of the conservative government Sebastián Piñera to send the bill for review by the Constitutional Court.
The regulation, raised by opposition legislators, was discussed this Thursday in a special session in the Senate, where its approval was taken for granted.
The Chamber of Deputies has already approved the bill by a large majority of 122 votes in favor, 20 against and 4 abstentions.
Withdrawals of pension funds have become a repeated practice in Chile despite being one of the best prepared countries to face the pandemic in Latin America, due to its low level of debt and high tax savings.
In March 2020, the country had in two sovereign funds close to 23,000 million dollars.
The government affirms that about 10% of Chilean GDP (about 20,000 million dollars) has been allocated in aid, but experts assure that only a fifth of those resources have gone directly to the pockets of those most affected.