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Chileans lie in street in memory of Pinochet-era missing

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Chilean human rights activists take part in a demonstration in Santiago on September 8, 2013. A thousand people lay on the ground Tuesday in Chile's capital in memory of those still missing from the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. (AFP/File)

A thousand people lay on the ground Tuesday in Chile's capital in memory of those still missing from the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Wednesday is the anniversary of the coup that brought Pinochet to power, on September 11, 1973. Nearly 1,200 remain missing from his war on anything that smacked of leftist dissent against his US-backed military government.

The demonstrators lay on the ground face-up for 11 minutes, starting near the presidential palace in a line stretching for several blocks.

On the day of the coup, the palace was bombed by planes taking part in the putsch that ousted president Salvador Allende, who committed suicide rather than be captured.

The demonstrators convened Tuesday via social media.

Rights groups say the Pinochet dictatorship claimed more than 3,200 victims including the missing.

The 40th anniversary of the coup has brought with it the release of a flood of plays, movies, books and photo exhibits that seek to illustrate the repression and censorship-induced cultural black hole that Chileans endured during the 17-year Pinochet regime.

Pinochet surrendered power to an elected government in 1990 and died in 2006.

On Monday the rightist government and leftist opposition held separate ceremonies to remember the coup -- evidence of how the Pinochet years continue to divide Chilean society.