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Chileans protest against pension system

March 26, 2017 GMT
A man dressed as a monkey representing lobbyists walks on a barricade during a march against Pension Fund Administrators, demanding an end to the system due to low pensions, in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, March 26, 2017. There were demonstrations and marches in several other cities in the country. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
A man dressed as a monkey representing lobbyists walks on a barricade during a march against Pension Fund Administrators, demanding an end to the system due to low pensions, in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, March 26, 2017. There were demonstrations and marches in several other cities in the country. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Thousands of Chileans are staging demonstrations to demand changes in the country’s pension system, which was once considered a global model.

Sunday’s demonstrators say the privately managed system needs profound reforms because many Chileans wind up with retirement benefits below the minimum salary of about $390.

The pension system introduced under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet requires Chilean workers to contribute 10 percent of their pay to the privately managed funds.

Critics say the system is unfair and that the companies administrating the funds make huge benefits. Supporters say that alternatives have not worked in other countries due to increasingly elderly populations.