Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Daily Focus: Protests Erupt in Chile as Michelle Bachelet Delivers Her Final State of the Union Address

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Chilean President Michelle Bachelet delivered her final State of the Union address in Valparaíso on Thursday, while police used water cannons outside to disperse groups of protesters.  Several demonstrators were detained by police and two people were injured.

In the address, Bachelet announced a wide range of policy objectives including $70 stipends for approximately four million poor Chileans to help them withstand the economic slowdown. She also announced housing subsidies, student grants and a reduction in gasoline taxes in an effort to ensure that “the costs of the crisis aren’t being borne by ordinary workers.” 

According to local reports, the demands of protestors varied but higher education was a top concern.  Thousands of Chilean professors have been on strike since Monday demanding further resources for state universities.  Bachelet maintains a 70 percent approval rating.

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