Sebastian Pinera, President of Chile signed a decree on December 27 on holding a referendum regarding the proposed amendment of the country's constitution on April 26, 2020. He incorporated the agreement with the opposition amid ongoing anti-government protests. The President addressed a press conference in which he said that the decree he has signed invites all the citizens to participate in the vote on the constitution that is set to occur on April 26.
The mandate was signed in the presence of journalists and specifies that the citizens should vote whether they want a new constitution and which body should frame the new constitution. It might partially include the current lawmakers or be fully organized by new ones through a vote in October 2020. Another referendum is expected to take place after the text will be developed.
Thousands of protestors clashed with police on Friday in Santiago in a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations that erupted more than two months ago in Chile. Protestors took out a rally in the Plaza Italia, which has since October 18 become the epicentre of massive protests against President Sebastian Pinera's right-wing government. Police entered the area and fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. According to the reports, thousands of protestors finally occupied the plaza after long hours of clashes with police.
Nearly two months ago, students in Chile started a protest against fare hikes which has now turned into a nationwide call for better services and socioeconomic equality. Human Rights Watch has claimed in a report on November 26 that there were "serious human rights violations" in Chile Protests. The international NGO in its report said that Chile's national police committed the violations claiming 25 lives, calling for reform of the force.
The Carabineros meaning the Chile Police Force "committed serious human rights violations, including excessive use of force in the streets and abuses in detention," during the protests, said the HRW. Jose Miguel Vivanco, HRW's director for the Americas, told a press conference in Santiago that they have received hundreds of disturbing reports of abuse, including cases of beatings and sexual assault. Vivanco added that the HRW believes that the abuses are not isolated cases, they are not coincidences.