- There were also protests in other neighborhoods of the capital and one by staff at the San Antonio port in the Valparaiso region.
SANTIAGO: Chile's Senate on Thursday approved a bill allowing people to withdraw up to 10 percent from their private pension funds to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a special session, the upper house of Congress passed the bill by 31 votes to 11.
It will now be sent back to the lower Chamber of Deputies, where it was previously approved with an overwhelming majority, for a final green light.
The bill received support from both "pro-government and opposition parliamentarians," said opposition legislator Yasna Provoste.
It is the third time in nine months that legislators have approved such a measure to help ease the burden of the coronavirus-induced economic crisis.
It comes with almost 90 percent of the country under lockdown for close to a month as coronavirus cases soared despite Chile making great strides with its vaccination campaign.
Chile has been one of the best prepared in Latin America to face the pandemic, with low debt levels and high savings.
Even so, hundreds of Chileans, mostly women, banged pots and set up barricades in the capital Santiago earlier in the say to demand the pension measure.
"No more lying bonds; our 10 percent now," read one banner hoisted by inhabitants of the poor La Pintana neighborhood.
There were also protests in other neighborhoods of the capital and one by staff at the San Antonio port in the Valparaiso region.
The bill was previously adopted by the Chamber of Deputies with a huge majority of 122 votes for to just 20 against.
In March 2020, the country held close to $23 billion in sovereign bonds.
The government says it has reserved nearly 10 percent of GDP ($20 billion) for pandemic assistance, although some experts claim only a fifth of that has gone directly to those most in need.