Thousands of jubilant Chileans streamed into the streets of Santiago after hearing that their former president, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, had died Sunday. Many danced and popped open champagne, while caravans of cars with horns blaring toured the capital for hours.
"These people are not celebrating the death of anyone. It is to celebrate the end of a cycle of so much pain, so much dictatorship, so much torture," said Jorge Salinas, 50, as he threw confetti into traffic. "Pinochet signified many deaths, so much suffering for us. That's why you see such happiness in most of the people. That's why they are celebrating."
While Chileans celebrated downtown, a rowdy and bitter crowd of about 700 Pinochet supporters gathered outside the military hospital where he died Sunday afternoon, the Washington Post reports.
A bit later there began violent between Chilean police and opponents of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
People threw rocks at cars and set up fire barricades on the main avenue of Santiago, Chile's capital city. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds.
Policer reported making a number of arrests. There were no immediate reports on any injuries.
Pinochet, a fierce anti-Communist who overthrew Chile's democratically-elected Marxist president Salvador Allende in a bloody coup launched on Sept. 11, 1973, ruled the nation with an iron fist for 17 years, ctv.ca reports.
Pinochet died on Sunday at 91, a week after suffering from heart attack. He had put Chile under a 17-year military rule marked by human rights abuses.
"The deceased former general shall receive the honors of a former commander in chief of the Army," Ricardo Lagos Weber said. Flags would fly at half-staff at army facilities, he said.
The Army said that a Mass would be held on Tuesday for Pinochet, who died in a military hospital, at the Escuela Military school, Gulfnews.com says
He was one of the most controversial political figures of the 20th century and had been in poor health in recent years, suffering from diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and the effects of at least three mild strokes that his family said had left him with mild dementia.
Pinochet will be most remembered for leading a military coup that toppled the world's first democratically elected Marxist president, Salvador Allende, on Sept. 11, 1973. Allende had named Pinochet commander-in-chief of the armed forces just 18 days before the coup, sfGate.com reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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