The Guardian has today published a piece from its archive from 12 September 1973, which, in contrast to my usual practice, I'm going to reproduce here in full:
Chile is today in the grip of a military regime, with every indication early this morning that President Salvador Allende had committed suicide after the presidential palace had been subjected to air and ground attacks. Early yesterday morning a military junta of senior officers demanded Allende's resignation, and when he refused the palace was attacked.
The military said they had acted "to liberate the country from Marxism." In a final broadcast, Allende called on the workers to occupy the factories and to arm themselves, but apart from sporadic sniping in the centre of Santiago, there appears to have been little organised resistance to the coup. Unconfirmed reports said that thousands of workers were marching on the city centre.
In New York, copper futures traded on the commodity exchange rose as the market reacted favourably to the news of Allende's downfall. In Paris, left-wing parties called for a protest march to the Chilean Embassy. Similar demonstrations are expected in London today. A Chilean reporter speaking by telephone to an Argentine radio station, said the President's death had been confirmed by a military spokesman. He was believed to have shot himself in the head when the military tried to arrest him.
If Allende has indeed committed suicide, it will be designed to warn the country of what happened in 1891 when President Balmaceda was forced to do the same thing after a disastrous conflict between President and Congress, which led to a civil war. It is this same conflict which has brought about the present situation.
Allende himself constantly warned that the country's political strife was leading in the same direction. He claimed that he would never be "another Balmaceda," but he also said that he would never be taken from office alive.
The new military regime, whose most prominent figure would appear to be Admiral Jorge Toribio Merino – who has proclaimed himself Commander in Chief of the Chilean Navy – has a markedly conservative tone.
All radio stations supporting the Allende Government have been taken over, the headquarters of the Communist Party have been raided, and the detention of 40 prominent figures in the Popular Unity Coalition, which supported Allende, has been ordered.
The ground attack on the presidential palace was confined to light and heavy machine gun fire, but bombs dropped from the air set fire to part of the building.
Fire brigades were told to await orders from the military before leaving to put out the fire. The air attack came after Allende's presidential guard and his civilian aides had surrendered to an ultimatum which Allende himself defied.