Chile's 2-day shutdown begins with barricades

Associated Press
A protester throws stones at police near the entrance of the University of Chile during a national strike in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday Aug. 24, 2011.  A nationwide strike shutting down Chile for two days has begun with people stoning buses and police clearing nearly two-dozen burning barricades around the capital of Santiago.  (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chilean students, opposition politicians and union workers are leading a two-day nationwide strike to fight for fundamental changes in government.

Some people are stoning buses and burning barricades as Santiago's streets fill with tear gas. Protesters planned marches downtown, but the government has warned them to stay out, threatening to invoke Chile's severe state security law against people who "incite the subversion of public order."

Police Maj. Christian Kunstmann says one car has been set on fire and an officer was shot in the hand. Rock-throwing, hooded protesters are battling officers in tanks. Hospitals warn anyone not seriously ill to stay home.

The government says the strike could cost Chile $400 million in lost production.

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