Members of the Chilean community and other Latin American supporters rallied outside NSW parliament on October 23 to protest against Liberal Upper House whip Peter Phelps, who has praised Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a "hero."
Protesters are demanding an apology from Phelps and disciplinary action against him from Premier Barry O'Farrell.
Phelps made a speech to parliament on September 11, the 40th anniversary of the military coup that overthrew elected socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973. Phelps described Pinochet as a "morally courageous man”.
Members of the Chilean community said: "Phelps is an embarrassment to Australians. Phelps must apologise to victims of torture. Remove Phelps from office. He glorifies violence."
In an open letter to the NSW public, representatives of the Chilean community said: "Phelps makes an express endorsement of the extermination of human beings in order the get rid of a democratically elected government, opening up old and deep traumatic wounds within the Chilean and Latin American community in Australia, which suffered untold degradation and torture under military dictatorships.”
It said Phelps’ words “incite and glorify violence, torture and state terrorism”.
[The community has asked readers to write to Phelps and O’Farrell. Phelps can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.]