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Chile marks 40th anniversary of coup

Two people passed the Patio 29 at General Cemetery in Santiago, where most of the graves of victims of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet were hidden.

Mario Ruiz/EPA

Two people passed the Patio 29 at General Cemetery in Santiago, where most of the graves of victims of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet were hidden.

SANTIAGO, Chile — President Sebastian Pinera marked the 40th anniversary of the military coup that overthrew Salvador Allende saying Wednesday that Chileans must heal from — but never forget — the events of Sept. 11, 1973, that launched a 17-year dictatorship.

That day, fighter jets surrounded the La Moneda presidential palace, and tanks and soldiers surrounded the building as it burst into flames. Allende, then the democratically elected president, committed suicide rather than surrender to the coup plotters led by General Augusto Pinochet.

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‘‘After 40 years, the time has come not to forget but rather to overcome the traumas of the past,’’ Pinera said.

A minute of silence in Allende’s memory was held later Wednesday at a statue of the late leader outside the presidential palace.

The government estimates 3,095 were killed during Pinochet’s rule, including about 1,200 who were forcibly disappeared.

Pinochet died in 2006 under house arrest.

The anniversary of the coup is often marked by violence.

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