EFESantiago

Hundreds of people took part here Wednesday in a protest against Chile's privately-run pension system, ending with at least 12 demonstrators arrested after clashing with police.

"We are gathered here again after Chile started 2016 with huge protests demanding a pension system that allows to have a dignified old age at the end of one's working life,which does not happen in Chile" the national head of the No+AFP coalition, Carolina Espinoza, told EFE.

In 2016, the coalition organized a series of protests against the country's current pension system, which requires that private companies known as pension fund administrators (AFPs), manage workers' retirement savings.

The system was put in place in 1981 by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who, in turn, toppled the unpopular government of socialist Salvador Allende in 1973.

Nearly 91 percent of Chile's retirees receive a pension of less than 154,304 pesos ($233) a month, which equals to between a third and a half of what they earned during their working lives.

Espinoza said that the people of Chile are retiring on poverty pensions that are far below the minimum wage, which is already an "absolutely insufficient salary to live in Chile."

The protest was also joined by a group of CUT labor federation leaders headed by their president, Barbara Figueroa.

The demonstrators attempted to make their way to the capital's main thoroughfare, but the procession encountered military police, who used a water cannon and tear gas when they refused to disperse.

Among the 12 arrested is No+AFP's Mesina.