Thousands of people on Sunday paid tribute to former Chilean President Salvador Allende on the 49th anniversary of the bloody military coup that overthrew his democratic government and installed the bloody civil-military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1989).
Leftist groups, former colleagues of the president, relatives of the victims, and of the more than a thousand prisoners who are still missing gathered next to the statue overlooking the entrance to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and marched from there to the Recoleta cemetery where his remains rest.
Allende shot himself in his own cabinet in the Palacio de La Moneda, from where he tried to repel the uprising and where he was forced to surrender after the army bombed the building and stormed it in blood and fire.
Hours later, the coup plotters arrested tens of thousands of people, hundreds of whom were immediately shot without trial, ushering in a wave of repression that lasted almost a decade, directed mainly against the socialist and communist parties and the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR).
“We are here to remember a name that was worthy to the end. But also so that we don’t forget the memory of all those murdered and disappeared and so that something like this doesn’t happen again,” a relative of one of those who disappeared on Sept. 11 told Efe.
“President Allende showed us the way. Betrayal is the strength of the dictatorship,” added another of the women present.
The morning, cold and rainy as on that fateful day in 1973, began with an institutional act at the Palacio de la Moneda, where the President of the Republic, Gabriel Boric, an admirer of Allende, praised his character and announced again his government’s intention to push ahead with the new plan to find the disappeared.