Opposition leaders said Friday that President Augusto Pinochet should leave office sooner, despite his vow to complete his term after losing a referendum. Hundreds of thousands celebrated the "no" vote.
Ten people were wounded, two seriously, when soldiers fired on celebrants in passing cars, a radio station reported.Ricardo Lagos, a moderate Socialist prominent in the 16-party opposition alliance, said the president has "too great an ambition for power" and should heed the message this week by voters "who said `No more.' "
Hundreds of thousands of Chileans swayed and sang along with some of the country's most popular music groups in a park Friday in an opposition celebration. No politicians spoke and the music was pointedly non-political, but people chanted on
heir own: "Chi Chi Chi, Le Le Le, Get Out Pinochet!" and "He's Going to Fall!"
People bound for the park in buses and packed automobiles chanted anti-government slogans and waved anti-Pinochet banners. Police estimated the crowd at up to 350,000.
A free presidential election is to be held late next year because of Pinochet's loss in the yes-or-no referendum Wednesday on whether he should remain in office until 1997. He can run in that election if he chooses.
The winner takes office in March 1990 and Pinochet said Thursday night he will not permit changes in the election schedule and he vowed not to leave office early. Pinochet took power in a September 1973 coup that ousted Marxist President Salvador Allende.
Radio Cooperativa, an independent news station, reported soldiers outside an army barracks near the park fired buckshot and pellets at people in passing cars who flashed the V sign for victory.
It said two people were seriously wounded and eight were treated at Santiago Central Emergency Hospital. A hospital spokesman told The Associated Press nine people were treated for gunshot wounds and a tenth was taken to a neurological hospital.
Opposition leaders have requested talks with the government on amending the constitution and speeding Pinochet's departure. Lagos said the administration might become more flexible later.
"You have to give the defeated a couple of days to recover from the shock," he said. "Let's talk more seriously about it next week."
Whether Pinochet can resist opposition pressure is expected to depend on support from his army, and no splits in the ranks were evident Friday.
Gen. Eduardo Ibanez, governor of the southern Eighth Region, was quoted Friday by La Epoca, a moderate Santiago daily, as saying: "We have lost a battle, but not the war. This is an electoral defeat for the governent, but from the military point of view it's no more than a battle."
He accused voters of "ingratitude," the report said.
The navy, air force and national police are generally seen as more willing to negotiate with the opposition but lack the army's size and political clout.