Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the May 22, 1997 issue of Workers World newspaper
Miners in Chile, facing a ban on demonstrations, marched on the presidential palace in Santiago on May 5. The miners, unemployed after the government closed the Lota coal pit, answered cops' tear gas and water cannons with stones and slingshots. Twenty-eight workers were arrested in the street fighting.
The government closed the Lota mine in April in its drive to increase privatizations and profitability of state-owned sectors. The closing has been a rallying point for unions and the Communist Party in resisting President Eduardo Frei's free-market policies.
In the mining town of Iquique in northern Chile, copper miners struck on April 30 against the Canadian-owned Cominco, which owns the Quebrada Blanca pit. On May 3, some 350 workers at the Australian-owned Escondida mine went back to work after a two-week strike--when the bosses accepted their wage demands.
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