Gen. Augusto Pinochet today mobilized his supporters in a mass parade in support of military rule, but antigovernment protests continued and opposition leaders announced they were suspending political talks with Interior Minister Sergio Onofre Jarpa.
One day after a nationwide antigovernment protest, thousands of Chileans marched down Santiago's main avenue this afternoon to cheer Pinochet and celebrate the 10th anniversary Sunday of his rise to power in a military coup.
The well-organized, flag-waving crowd estimated by news services to number about 20,000, was saluted by its 67-year-old leader from a podium facing the presidential palace.
The demonstration was marred, however, by hundreds of antigovernment protesters who gathered near the parade route to chant slogans, whistle at government supporters and taunt police. Scuffles broke out between the opposing political groups and police in riot gear fired tear gas to clear an area only blocks from Pinochet's reviewing stand.
Tonight, residents in a number of Santiago neighborhoods protested for a second consecutive night, marching through the streets of mostly poor areas in groups of several hundreds and building barricades to keep out police. Scattered confrontations were reported in several areas between protesters and police, but no serious injuries were confirmed by late tonight.
Also today, the opposition Democratic Alliance, a coalition of political parties, announced it was suspending political talks with the government following violence that reportedly left five dead and nearly 100 wounded in yesterday's nationwide protest.
Human rights groups and witnesses said today that two of the dead were shot by uniformed police. The other deaths were attributed to unidentified armed groups circulating in neighborhoods where residents banged pots and pans, marched and barricaded streets to protest military rule.
The violence in the protest was significantly less than that of demonstrations last month, when Pinochet ordered 18,000 troops and police to patrol Santiago streets and at least 24 persons died. However, residents of several poor neighborhoods publicly charged today that police had fired tear gas into homes, broken windows with rocks and nightsticks and beaten bystanders in an effort to stop the demonstration.
The State Department said today in Washington that "there were some incidents of excessive use of force against demonstrators" but added that there was also "violence by the protesters." The statement said U.S. officials "remain concerned about the situation."
Following a lengthy meeting of opposition leaders, Christian Democratic Party President Gabriel Valdes announced this afternoon that the alliance blamed the government for the violence. He added that the parties were dissatisfied with the government's failure to take concrete action on reforms or to establish an agenda and calendar for talks meant to ease Chile's political crisis.
"We cannot be satisfied with vague statements that lead nowhere," said Valdes, who has led alliance leaders in two meetings with Jarpa in the last month. "The dialogue is suspended until the government shows it is ready to present an agenda and calendar for discussion."
The opposition action represented a reverse for Pinochet, who has staked much of his government's prestige behind an effort to draw centrist opposition leaders into negotiations and end months of mass demonstrations with a program of liberalization that still preserves his mandate to rule until 1989.
However, political analysts said today that the opposition alliance's statement appeared to be largely tactical designed to pressure the government while still leaving open the possibility of future talks.
Jarpa, a former Nationalist politician who has led the government's one-month-old liberalization initiative, today denied that police had overreacted and blamed yesterday's violence on extremists. He said the relative decrease in violence from last month's protests showed "the country is quieting down."
At the same time Jarpa announced that the government would renew the official state of internal danger for six months Sunday. The designation gives the government exceptional powers to arrest and hold suspects without charge, limits freedom of expression and allows internal exile or expulsion for opponents by decree.
Jarpa previously announced that the government no longer intended to use the special administrative powers. Today, however, he said the authority was needed to control extremist violence.
Government officials also obtained the jailing today of Rodolfo Seguel, popular president of the Confederation of Copper Workers, who organized the first two of the five monthly antigovernment protests held so far. Seguel was ordered jailed by an appeals court judge on charges on defaming Pinochet, whom he called "a fanatical dictator" in a recent interview.
Today's progovernment demonstration, the first held for Pinochet since March 1981, was described by officials as the answer to the recent opposition call for his resignation and a return to democracy in 18 months.
Groups of government supporters, wearing red and white badges and organized according to community, school, government office or military service, marched for about three hours past Pinochet.
"This is the best demonstration of how all of Chile maintains its faith and hope in this government," Pinochet told state television.