World Tour: Protests in Chile and elections in Spain

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Violent protests in Chile—We start today in South America.

AUDIO: [Protesters and police in Santiago Chile]

Anti-government rallies in Chile turned violent over the weekend. Protesters threw rocks at police who responded by firing tear gas canisters into the crowds.

The violence started late Friday when an otherwise peaceful rally ended with protesters looting and setting fire to a church and nearby university.

AUDIO: [Protesters and police in Santiago Chile]

The protests started three weeks ago over increasing subway fares. But they quickly grew to include anger over inequality. Young protesters are demanding an end to low wages and the high cost of education and healthcare. Twenty protesters have died so far in clashes with police.

Coalition government follows Spanish election—Next we go to Europe.

AUDIO: [Spanish parties before reporters]

Leaders of the Socialist and far-left Podemos parties appeared before reporters Tuesday to announce they have agreed to form a government. Disagreement among the parties after an election in April forced Spain to go back to the polls last weekend.

AUDIO: [Pedro Sanchez comments]

Incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the new coalition will be based on cohesion, loyalty, and governmental solidarity.

The Socialist Party won the most seats on Sunday but fell short of the majority needed to form a government. The nationalist Vox party doubled its presence in parliament and became the third-largest party in the chamber.

Vox’s popularity is in part due to anger over the ongoing unrest in Catalonia.

AUDIO: [Sound of Catalan separatist activists]

Separatists there want to break away from Spain to form their own country. On Monday they blocked a major highway connecting France and Spain. The protesters are angry over prison sentences recently handed out to former leaders who backed secession.

China to buy British Steel—Next to the U.K.

China plans to make a major investment in the country’s steel industry. Conglomerate Jingye announced Monday that it has agreed to buy British Steel. The sale saves the company from bankruptcy and ends some of the uncertainty facing about 4,000 workers.

AUDIO: I feel like our jobs are safe at the moment. Well it depends what the Chinese want to do.

The company produces about one-third of the country’s steel at its plant in Lincolnshire. Nic Dakin represents the area in parliament.

LEE: I’ve been really impressed by Chairman Lee when I met him of his desire to invest in this business. I think today they’ve announced that they want to make 1.2 billion pounds’ worth of investments. I mean that will really transform this business.

But not everyone shares his excitement. Critics blame China for the company’s collapse in the first place. It pushed low-cost steel into the EU market, pricing out the more expensive British product.

More time to form a government in S. Sudan—And finally, we end today here in Africa.

The leaders of South Sudan have agreed to a 100-day extension of their peace deal in hopes of forming a coalition government. President Salva Kiir addressed the nation on Friday.

KIIR: I know the extension does not give you assurance about security in South Sudan, and it does not help to reduce your suffering. Something that has been bothering me for a very long time.

Unrest in the country started in 2013 with a disagreement between Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar about how to run the country. The resulting violence between rival militias has killed hundreds of thousands of people. The current peace deal calls for a unified army and joint military training. But Kiir’s government has not been able to raise the money to pay for it.

That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) Spain’s far-right Vox Party supporters attend the closing election campaign event in Madrid, Spain, Friday Nov. 8, 2019.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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