'Augusto Pinochet' the movie opens to violent protest in Santiago, Chile


Opponents and sympathizers of late Chilean dictator (1973-90) general Augusto Pinochet scuffle in front of the Caupolican Theatre in Santiago, on June 10, 2012.



Violent protests accompanied the screening Sunday of a documentary — "Pinochet" — glorifying the former military regime of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile's capital Santiago.

According to media reports, police used tear gas and water cannons to break up one demonstration, the Associated Press reported, adding that 22 people were injured in clashes and 64 were arrested.

The New York Times reported that police had sealed off the area around Teatro Caupolican as protesters threw eggs, spat at attendees, and shouted "assassins" and "fascists."

The theater was also the site of political rallies against Pinochet during his 17-year dictatorship. 

About 3,000 opponents of his regime died in torture chambers, BBC pointed out.

According to the AP, the film paints Pinochet — who seized power in 1973, overthrowing the democratically-elected Marxist president Salvador Allende — as a national hero who died victimized by vengeful leftists.

The screening was organized by Corporacion 11 de Septiembre, named for the day when Pinochet seized power, and attended by his grandson, retired Captain Augusto Pinochet Molina, who gave an address to the audience of "Pinochetistas" waving Chilean flags.

"We want to set the record straight on Pinochet," Juan Gonzalez, a retired army officer told the AP.

"We have stoically put up with the lies and cheating and seen how the story has been manipulated."

RTT billed it as the largest gathering of Pinochet supporters since his death in 2006, with his supporters insisting on their right to free speech and expression.

However relatives of the regime's victims have been outraged by his glorification in the controversial film.

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