Chilean environmental groups protest water rights

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Associated Press

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 22 at 8:32 PM

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Environmental and indigenous groups have marched in Chile's capital to demand the recovery of water rights.

Monday's demonstration was timed for Earth Day, which is celebrated by more than 192 countries to show support for environmental protection. About 6,000 people joined the demonstration in Santiago waving flags and chanting "Water is a right!"

Protesters say Chile's water scarcity is caused by government policies that exploit natural resources.

Chile's water code was enacted during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. It gave the state authority to grant usage rights for all the country's water.

A Chilean court ruled in favor of indigenous communities earlier this month, saying the world's highest-altitude gold mine owned by Barrick Gold Corp. threatens their water supply and pollutes glaciers.

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