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Learning English - Words in the News
 
11 December, 2006 - Published 12:44 GMT
 
Response to Pinochet death
 
Disturbances in Chile

There have been disturbances in the Chilean capital, Santiago, following the death of the country's former military ruler, Augusto Pinochet. General Pinochet died in hospital on Sunday afternoon. His funeral will take place tomorrow, Tuesday. From Santiago, Steve Kingstone reports:

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Supporters and opponents of Augusto Pinochet were on the streets of Santiago long into the night. The former gathered first at the hospital where he died and later at the military academy, where a funeral service and cremation will take place on Tuesday. Meanwhile, in the city centre thousands of anti-Pinochet demonstrators celebrated news of his death with champagne and confetti but the party mood soured as a minority of the crowd lit fires and scuffled with the police, who responded with teargas and water cannon.

The Chilean government has issued an appeal for peace. A spokesman said Mr Pinochet would be honoured as a former head of the army but not as a former head of state. Nor will there be an official period of mourning. This country's president, Michelle Bachelet, who was herself jailed and later exiled during the Pinochet regime, will not attend the funeral. Instead the government will be represented by Chile's defence minister.

Listen to the words

Supporters and opponents
people who are for and people who are against

The former
here 'the former' refers to the first of the two subjects listed in the previous sentence - the supporters of Pinochet.

gathered
met together

confetti
small bits of coloured paper that are thrown in the air at celebrations

the party mood soured
the happy atmosphere became unpleasant

a minority of the crowd
a small number of people in the crowd

scuffled
fought

a former
here, 'a former' followed by a noun refers to a previous position that someone had

an official period of mourning
a length of time set by the government for remembering someone important who has died

exiled
forced to live in another country

 
 
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