SANTIAGO: Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Tuesday he will not resign in the face of deadly protests over inequality and poor social conditions that have entered their third week.
Asked by the BBC in an interview whether he will step down, the billionaire conservative leader said: “No.”
“These problems have been accumulating for the past 30 years,” Pinera said. “I am responsible (for) part of it and I assume my responsiblity, but I’m not the only one.”
Fresh clashes broke out Tuesday, adding to the violence gripping one of Latin America’s most prosperous countries. It has forced the government to cancel two major international economic and climate summits and open talks with the leftist opposition.
Thousands of protesters took the streets in the capital, and in the southern cities of Concepcion and Vina del Mar, west of Santiago.
Police firing birdshot injured two students among a group trying to overrun a public high school in Santiago, police said. The students were treated at a hospital and released.
Citing public order fears, South American football chiefs announced they were switching the venue for a major continental soccer final from Santiago.
This month’s showpiece Copa Libertadores final will now be held in the Peruvian capital Lima, soccer authority CONMEBOL said after meeting in Paraguay.
“The choice is based on the offer of the government of Peru, and on the security guarantees it has given,” it said in a statement.