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Chile honors allende pinochet coup eve { September 11 2003 }

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Chile Honors Allende on Pinochet Coup Eve
Thursday September 11, 2003 12:49 AM

Associated Press Writer

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Salvador Allende, the Chilean Marxist president deposed in a coup, was honored Wednesday in a ceremony at the palace were his life ended 30 years ago.

``He died defending democracy and the dignity of his post as president,'' said his daughter Isabel, a writer and speaker of the lower house of Congress.

``He believed in democracy, freedom and social justice - thus, he became a world figure,'' she added at the ceremony headed by President Ricardo Lagos, a member of Allende's socialist party.

Also attending the ceremony was Allende's widow, Hortensia Bussi.

Wednesday's ceremony was the first official government homage inside the palace since Allende was toppled in a bloody coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

The palace was partially destroyed by fire after the heavy air and ground attack on Sep. 11, 1973, when Allende shot himself with a submachine gun presented to him by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, according to a version accepted by Allende's family and his closest associates.

The homage to Allende at the palace organized by Interior Minister Jose Insulza prompted criticism from politicians, the strongest of which came from right-wing politicians who fiercely opposed Allende and supported Pinochet.

In previous years, the anniversary of the coup triggered violent demonstrations.

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

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