Wednesday, October 21, 1998 Published at 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Chile: A divided nation
Pinochet supporters take to the streets
Santiago Correspondent James Reynolds reports on how General Pinochet's arrest has polarised society.
The fragile unity built up in Chile over the past few years ended with the arrest of General Pinochet.
"Increasingly, this is becoming a problem for everyone," says political analyst Ricardo Israel, "Chile is going back to the polarisation of the past."
The right wing in Chile, in relative disarray for some years, has united
around the cause of releasing General Pinochet.
The government has found itself in a difficult position. Ministers from the centre-left coalition are having to defend a man they have spent a generation opposing. Socialist members of the coalition are refusing to support the government's position and the coalition which has lasted a decade is under threat of collapse.
The administration of President Eduardo Frei is also coming under pressure from General Pinochet's most powerful supporter, the armed forces.
"The military are very aggressive in making it known to the government that they are not prepared to see General Pinochet humiliated." says defence analyst Raul Sohr.
Among ordinary people in Chile the reaction to the arrest of the former dictator has been divided.
Happiness among opponents
Many see his arrest as long overdue. They say that it's something the Chilean government itself should have done many years ago.
"After all these years we may get some justice for those who were killed by Pinochet," says Viviana Diaz, the head of the Association of the Families of those who went missing during the Pinochet regime.
Shock and anger
On the day the news broke, Pinochet's most fervent supporters gathered outside the Pinochet foundation. "I can't believe it," repeated one woman again and again.
His supporters look upon the arrest of General Pinochet as a betrayal by Britain - a country long considered an ally.