Chilean side crowned champions after season abandoned due to anti-government protests

The country has been rocked by political unrest and demonstrations over the past six weeks

Samuel Lovett
Saturday 30 November 2019 14:39
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Universidad Catolica have claimed the league title for the 14th time in their history
Universidad Catolica have claimed the league title for the 14th time in their history

Universidad Catolica have been crowned champions of the Chilean Primera Division after the country’s football federation cancelled the remaining six fixtures of the season due to ongoing anti-government protests.

The South American country has been rocked by political unrest and demonstrations over the past six weeks, with those taking to the streets demanding better social services and pensions in the face of deep-seated inequality.

All matches of Chile’s top division were suspended when the violence first broke out, and now the decision has been made to abandon the rest of the season and cancel the final six fixtures.

No teams will be relegated or promoted, while Universidad Catolica, who were top of the table by 13 points, have been handed the title for the 14th time in their history.

The World Rally Championship motor race Rally Chile has also been cancelled due to the unrest.

What began on 18 October as a student protest over a modest increase in subway fares has turned into a much larger and broader movement with a long list of demands that concern the wide gap between the rich and ordinary Chileans.

Protesters are calling for reforms to health care, education, pensions and even the constitution, which dates from 1980 during the military dictatorship.

The early mass demonstrations were mostly peaceful, but it was common to see small bands of hooded protesters hurl rocks, raise barricades and confront police, who clamped down with violence.

On Thursday, Chilean president Sebastian Pinera criticised the violent protesters.

According to the latest figures from the independent National Institute of Human Rights delivered to Chile’s congress on Thursday, there have been 2,808 injuries inflicted so far during the clashes — 1,737 of them caused by firearms.

At least 232 people have suffered eye trauma from police shotgun pellets and tear gas canisters.

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