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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 02:44 GMT 03:44 UK
Chile remembers 1973 coup

By Elliott Gotkine
BBC correspondent in Chile

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos has officially marked the 30th anniversary of the coup that toppled elected socialist President Salvador Allende.

Presidential palace attacked during the 1973 coup
Allende killed himself as soldiers were closing in on the presidential palace
In a symbolic act, he presided over the re-opening of a side door into the presidential palace that had been sealed by the military junta of General Augusto Pinochet.

Mr Lagos then gave a speech, in which he called on Chileans to ensure that the events of 11 September 1973 never happen again.

Thirty years ago firefighters carried the body of Allende out of the bombed presidential palace.

The door he came though was sealed, lest it become a shrine to the deposed president.

But in a moving ceremony to mark three decades since the coup, President Lagos walked alone up Morande Street and saluted the soldier standing guard.

It is a day of pain that entered in the soul of Chile with which we must live
President Ricardo Lagos

The flag covering the entrance was removed and Mr Lagos walked through the newly remodelled door, to the delight of the assembled guests.

In his speech that followed he said the opening of the door was an expression of the freedom that can now be found in Chile.

However he warned his countrymen against complacency, saying that despite the country's progress it needs to keep strengthening its democratic institutions.

We have advanced a lot, he said, but we need to keep advancing more in a cohabitation based on respect, pluralism, tolerance and a unity of the nation's soul.


SEE ALSO:
Chileans split over coup legacy
09 Sep 03  |  Americas
Pinochets attack Allende tribute
08 Sep 03  |  Americas
Profile: Salvador Allende
08 Sep 03  |  Americas
Pinochet profile: Saviour or tyrant
08 Dec 00  |  The Pinochet file
Testimony: Detainee remembers Chile 1973
23 Oct 98  |  The Pinochet file
Chile drops Pinochet trial
01 Jul 02  |  Americas


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