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Chile's public sector workers on protests against miserable wages, clash with police

Chile's public sector workers on protests against miserable wages, clash with police Hundreds of public workers in Chile clashed with police outside the nation's presidential palace in Santiago on Thursday, a day after Congress approved a relatively small 2017 wage hike for government workers.

The protesters, many shouting and waving banners, came within feet of the main entrance to the president's residence, leading police to shut the building down.

After a tussling with the workers in a large plaza in front of the building, riot police managed to disperse the crowd with water cannon and tear-inducing gases.

Chile's Congress on Wednesday approved a 3.2 percent salary hike for the public sector, roughly in line with inflation, and below the 4 percent hike that workers had demanded.

In September, President Michelle Bachelet said Chile's budgeted spending will rise only 2.7 percent in 2017, as the public finances of the South American nation have been pressed by low prices for copper, by far its most important export.
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