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Chile Threatens Tough Action to Thwart Protesters

Associated Press

The government said Thursday that it will be as tough as necessary in stopping any repetitions of a two-day protest against military rule in which four people were fatally wounded and scores injured.

Interior Minister Ricardo Garcia warned that the military regime will take drastic measures to maintain public order.

“The government will apply the maximum strength of the law to punish those promoting disorders or participating in disorders,” he said after a three-hour meeting of the Cabinet over which President Augusto Pinochet presided.

Garcia did not elaborate, but the government has wide powers to punish dissidents. Many activists in previous protests have been tried for violations of national security or sent to internal exile in remote villages.

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Police said two people died Thursday of bullet wounds suffered in the previous two days of protest organized by political parties and other opposition groups.

That brought the death toll to four. Another 25 people were hospitalized with bullet wounds and a total of about 70 people were hurt, many of them hit by police shotgun fire. Hundreds of people were arrested.


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