The Guardian December 5, 2001


Protest against attack on CP of Chile

The headquarters of the Communist Party of Chile in the capital Santiago 
was last week brutally attacked by the Chilean National Police. On November 
27 more than 300 police stormed the building using tear gas and water 
cannon. The Party's General Secretary, Gladys Marin and 50 others, 
including the head of the Communist Youth League, were beaten and 
arrested.

Gladys Marin was kept under arrest by the police and prevented from 
speaking to her lawyers.

The attacks come only three weeks before nation-wide elections in which 
support for communist candidates is expected to increase, with the 
Communist Party of Chile expected to gain a seat for the first time since 
the end of the Pinochet dictatorship.

Chilean President Largos and the newly appointed head of the police, Arturo 
Cienfiegos, claimed ignorance of the reasons for the attack and have 
announced a full investigation.

But Ms Marin, a former presidential candidate, said the Government had 
previously given support to similar brutal actions.

The destruction of the Party's national headquarters will severely impact 
on its election campaign.

In a message of solidarity the Communist Party of Canada said that many 
will doubt the Government's professed ignorance because it is extremely 
unlikely that the rogue element within the police would carry out such an 
action without approval from the highest authorities.

"The Communist Party of Canada sharply denounces this vicious repression 
against Chilean communists and demands swift action to bring those 
responsible to account."

In a statement, the Communist Party USA said the raid was a desperate 
attempt to slow or stop the process of democratisation in Chile just weeks 
before parliamentary elections.

"We are sure that this tactic will not work to intimidate the Party, its 
members or the progressive movement in Chile."

Protest addresses:

Chilean House of Representatives
http://www.camara.cl/
Chilean Senate
http://www.senado.cl/

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