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Demonstrators in Chile voice their support for new minority-friendly constitution

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By Euronews
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The march "I approve for the right to decent housing" called by social movements, took over the center of the Chilean capital on Saturday
The march "I approve for the right to decent housing" called by social movements, took over the center of the Chilean capital on Saturday   -   Copyright  AFP

Thousands of people demonstrated in the centre of Chile's capital Santiago on Saturday to demand the right to decent housing and to express their support for the new constitution for the country.

The draft will be put to a referendum on 4 September.

More than 15 million Chileans will decide whether or not they want to approve a new Magna Carta.

Protesters carried ethnic flags such as the Whipala of the Andean peoples in support of saying yes to the new constitution.

The draft charter was drafted over the course of one year by a 154-member Constitutional Convention. It seeks to replace the current one inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet with one that recognises new rights and forms of national and state organisation.

"This 4 September in Chile we are going to live a historic moment because we have the possibility of leaving behind the Constitution of the tyrant, the Constitution of Pinochet," Karina Nohales, one of the spokespersons for the demonstration.

Opponents of the new constitution gather, too

Dozens of supporters also demonstrated in a bicycle caravan through Santiago, while in the modest municipality of La Pintana, a call called the "Aprobazo" was prepared.

In the municipality of Puente Alto, south of Santiago, a concentration of women with Chilean flags carried canvases that read "Not like that, I reject!" 

They declared themselves in favour of rejecting the draft constitution, which according to them, does not represent all Chileans.

“If the rejection wins as we think it will happen, those who are going to carry out a new constitutional reform have to finally agree, this draft constitution is bad,” said lawyer Carol Bown, a former member of the Constitutional Convention representing the right-wing.

Other supporters of rejection came with flags and posters to Plaza Italia, the epicentre of the protest in Santiago, to demonstrate.

Chile is facing a tough electoral campaign with a lot of misinformation, mainly on social networks.

"I am going to risk it for a Chile that is united by a new Constitution, whether it wins the Approval or the Rejection," said President Gabriel Boric.

The Cadem Public House survey, one of the most recognised in Chile, gives I Reject as the winner (46%) over the I Approve option (37%), while Pulse Citizen gives those against 45.8% compared to 32.9% of those in favour.

This Saturday, the last polls of the plebiscite were known since the electoral law prohibits publishing them 15 days before the election.