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On behalf of our five and a half million members, the TUC expresses our full support and solidarity with trade unionists, human rights campaigners and democrats in Chile who have faced violent police repression since the wave of protests which broke out on the 18th of October 2019.

We join the CUT, our sister trade union federation in Chile, in rejecting the visit of President Sebastian Piñera to the UK and other European countries given his administration’s shameful human rights record and call on the UK Government to raise the concerns of our sister trade unions. This visit should not be used to whitewash a leader who stands accused of serious human rights violations. We fully support the CUT’s demands for the release of political prisoners in Chile and for full reparations for the victims of state brutality.

Tomorrow 11th September marks the 48th anniversary of the violent Pinochet coup which overthrew the democratic government of Salvador Allende, and no doubt many Chileans will be remembering the dark days of repression and political violence that all hoped had gone for good. The TUC notes that allegations of crimes against humanity have been brought against President Piñera at the International Criminal Court by a coalition of human rights organisations in Chile.

We call on the British government to condemn the brutal actions of the Piñera administration which, in the words of Amnesty International, has “misused the law to criminalise protesters” and engaged in “multiple instances of excessive use of force” leaving hundreds of innocent people blinded and maimed.

Britain’s trade unionists have a long and proud history of solidarity with the people of Chile, welcoming political prisoners who arrived during the dictatorship, and of non-collaboration with the regimes who repress workers’ and human rights, exemplified by the Scottish workers who refused to work on parts for the Chilean air force during the Pinochet regime. The TUC extends our greetings and support to Chileans protesting Piñera’s UK visit today and to the former political prisoners and others commemorating all the victims of the coup and recent state violence.

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