Whether the Carabinero police have harassed members of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) or the Communist Party (1995 to July 1999) [CHL32295.E]

For information on the treatment of Communist Party members between 1990 and 1997, please consult CHL26104.E of 23 January 1997.

No reports of police harassment of members of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) and the Communist Party could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, some reports detail clashes and incidents between the Carabinero police and members of the Communist Party and the PDC.

Two reports state that violent clashes erupted outside the Chilean Congress in Valparaíso in March 1998 when Carabinero police intervened to quell protests following the swearing-in of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a senator for life (IPS 11 Mar. 1998; Telam 11 Mar. 1998). Both reports state that the Communist Party participated in the protests and one report adds that Gladys Marin, the party's secretary-general, "suffered a slight facial injury when police turned the water hoses on the crowd and threw tear gas canisters" (IPS 11 Mar. 1998). The Telam report states that Marin gave a speech during the demonstration critizing the government for caving into military pressure (11 Mar. 1998). According to the report, "the demonstrators lit bonfires, lifted barricades, burnt Pinochet in effigy, and hurled rocks at the police, which responded with water jets and tear gas." Over 30 people were injured and 174 others were arrested as a result of the rioting in Valparaíso and Santiago (ibid). Telam also reported that leaders of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) in Valparaíso had had their office broken into by police and that two of its members were arrested.

More violent clashes erupted between Communist Party sympathizers and the police near the La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago on the 25th anniversary of the military coup (DPA 13 Sept. 1998; Telam 11 Sept. 1998). In the DPA report, Santiago Mayor Ernesto Velasco is cited as saying that 3 people were killed, 77 others were injured and another 319 people were arrested. However, Telam reported that 3 people were injured and only 46 were arrested. As the protesters attempted to approach the government palace, the Carabinero police used tear gas and threw water jets (DPA 13 Sept. 1998; Telam 11 Sept. 1998). In response to the police action, the demonstrators threw molotov cocktails and rocks (Telam 11 Sept. 1998).

In October 1998, 50 members of the Communist Party attempted to enter La Moneda Palace to protest the diplomatic immunity accorded to Pinochet, who was facing house arrest in London (El Mercurio 20 Oct. 1998). However, their attempt was twarted by the Carabineros and after "struggling with police troops" were asked to leave a letter for the Chilean vice-president (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Deutsche-Presse Agentur (DPA). 13 September 1998. "Three Killed and 77 Injured in Allende Anniversary Rioting: Mayor." (NEXIS)

El Mercurio [Santiago, in Spanish]. 20 October 1998. "Chile: Coalition Divided Over Pinochet Case." (FBIS-LAT-98-293 20 Oct. 1998/WNC)

Inter Press Service (IPS). 11 March 1998. Gustavo Gonzalez. "Chile: Protests, Fist Fights Mark Pinochet's First Day in Senate." (NEXIS)

Telam [Buenos Aires, in Spanish]. 11 September 1998. "Chile: Riots Take Place in Santiago on Military Coup Anniversary." (FBIS-LAT-98-254 11 Sept. 1998/WNC)

_____. 11 March 1998. "Chile: Pinochet Installed as Senator for Life Amid Protests." (FBIS-LAT-98-070 11 Mar. 1998/WNC)

Additional Sources Consulted

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1998-1999.

Latin America Regional Reports: Southern Cone Group Report [London]. 1998-1999.

NACLA Report on the Americas [New York]. 1998-1999.

One source consulted did not provide information on the requested topic.

Electronic Sources: IRB Databases, REFWORLD and Internet.