reprisals from the Chilean authorities after deciding to join a hunger strike in the capital city, Santiago.
Fr Desmond McCiillictiddy, a Mill Hill missionary, Fr Brendan Ford, a Franciscan, and Sr Clara Walsh of the Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph, are among 20 priests and religious who went on strike last week with about 100 Chileans. They are attempting to force President Pinochet s government to explain the fate of relatives who have gone missing,
Fr McGillicuddy has been in Chile since 1975 when he went there to join a group of other priests living and working in the workers' quarters. Altogether there are now eight groups on hunger strike in the city — six in parish churches, one in UNICEF building and one in the Red Cross headquarters.
Reports reaching the Mill Hill fathers in London indicate that so far the Chilean government has ignored the protest completely, as have the mass media in Chile. Their fear is that if it remains covered up there could be serious reprisals late'.
However, the Chile Committee for Human Rights claimed in London this week that government action had already been taken. It said that 60 members of the secret police had broken into the Cathedral, The action had been denounced by Cardinal Raul Silva, whose eequest to meet them had been turned down, the Committee said
As the strikes gained support In Chile itself, groups of refugees abroad also decided kr show their solidarity by staging similar protests.
In north London, six Chileans began an "indefinite" strike at St Aloysius church: all have relatives who have disappeared without explanation. They Awe visited on Sunday by Cardinal flume, who gave them his blessing and promised to help in whatever way he could
Action is also being taken in at least seven other British cities as well as in twelve other countries.
In an open letter they said: "We have been greatly moved by the support we ourselves are beginning to receive from people in Britain."
Last Thursday, a small delegation which included representatives of Amnesty International and the Chile Committee for Human Rights, together with relatives of disappeared people, were received at the Foreign Office. They asked the British Government to apply effective pressure on the Chilean authorities to persuade theni to allow an Ad Hoc working Group of the United Neuons Humeri Rights Conimission into Chile to investigate the disappearanees. Up till awe, entry has been refused.
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