Growing inequality and discontent on the right and the left lead to violent demonstrations and clashes on the street. The military becomes increasingly restless and difficult to control. Middle- and upper-class business proprietors and professionals launch waves of workplace shutdowns and lockouts.
General Pinochet launches a violent attack on Allende's administration. Political parties are outlawed, and the media is censored. Systematic and massive human rights violations soar as Pinochet's secret police keep dissidents in fear of arrest, torture, and "disappearance." Anyone deemed subversive is a target. The Church denounces these violations and attempts to protect the persecuted.
Several human rights organizations emerge; they focus on the mental health of torture victims and provide legal and psychological assistance to families of victims. Military dictatorship continues as a new constitution cements Pinochet's grip on power until 1989. The army brutally puts down mounting popular protests against his regime. In 1986 a leftist's assassination attempt on Pinochet fails.
As part of the transition to democracy, President Aylwin appoints a commission to investigate the Pinochet regime's human rights violations. The former head of the secret police and his deputy are sentenced for masterminding the 1976 assassination of the former Chilean ambassador to the United States. Investigation opens into all pending cases of those who "disappeared" during military rule.
Five retired army officers are charged with kidnapping 72 political prisoners after the 1973 military coup. Their arrests prompt the armed forces to take part in government-sponsored talks with human rights lawyers. Pinochet is arrested and stripped of his immunity from prosecution. But the Santiago appeals court eventually closes the case, declaring him unfit for trial for health reasons.
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