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Chilean leader acknowledges excess force used in protests

Chile’s president is still struggling to bring calm to the streets one month into a potent protest movement that has dramatically altered the political landscape of the South American nation.

In televised comments late Sunday, President Sebastián Piñera acknowledged that excessive force has been used to clamp down on demonstrators with legitimate social demands and said abuses have been committed. He promised “no impunity” for anyone who commits acts of violence.

Twenty-six people have died in the protests. Thousands more have been injured in clashes with police who fire pellet guns directly at faces. At least 230 people have lost sight in an eye.

Anti-government demonstrators, wearing eye patches, perform in front of the Supreme Court in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. According to the Medical College of Chile at least 230 people have lost sight after being shot in an eye in the last month while participating in the demonstrations over inequality and better social services. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

Demonstrators want reforms to education, health care and pensions. An agreement between political parties charts a course to potentially rewriting the constitution, another demand.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera arrives to La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. The main political parties in the country agreed Friday to call for a new constitution to replace one imposed by a military dictatorship almost 40 years ago, a move that follows a month of turbulent social protests in the streets. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

Anti-government protesters clash with police in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. According to the Medical College of Chile at least 230 people have lost sight after being shot in an eye in the last month while participating in the demonstrations over inequality and better social services. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

A petrol bomb explodes near a police officer during clashes with anti-government protesters in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. According to the Medical College of Chile at least 230 people have lost sight after being shot in an eye in the last month while participating in the demonstrations over inequality and better social services. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)