Chileans know how to protest. They show up en masse and beat pots and pans, cacerolazo is their name for it. This month they’ve returned to the streets as they did in the days of Dictator Pinochet. Chilean protests are very lively and incarnate the democratic core of the country.
What happened? Why are there protests in one of the most stable countries in South America? Why has Piñera set an 11 pm curfew for two weeks in retaliation?
The recent metro fare hike set struggling Chileans on edge. High school students acted out by jumping over subway turn styles, skipping payment. A few people went violent, burning subway train cars, others looted stores. Piñera reacted with a stone hand, declaring, “We are at war” and imposing martial law.
Chileans are protesting financial inequality. Their signs read, “We are not at war” and “Piñera resign.” The protesters want justice, economic parity, and peace.
October 25, people in Santiago marched against the Piñera government and the armed forces who used brutal methods to keep Chileans in line. So far 18 civilians are dead, more than 250 are wounded and over three thousand were arrested.
Piñera erased the fare increase, has increased the minimum wage a bit, has restructured Congress, and is taking about improving health care. Chileans want more. They seek a new constitution, one not connected with the dictatorship. The people want better living conditions. Piñera is smiling and conciliatory, but the Chileans aren’t buying it. Protest signs read, “Chile despertó,” Chile has awakened. Friday October 25 over a million Chileans protested in Santiago. The number of people marching in other major cities like Valparaíso, Arica and Antofagasta were also large.
We are following our dear friends’ experiences through what they post on social media. The Chilean example shows us at least 5 ways to make our voices heard, should we ever need to protest:
5. Record police brutality with your cell phone
4. Upload your photos and videos to social media, even when a few are “not currently available” (unexplainably disappear)
3. Stay in contact with friends abroad to disseminate information. We’re here for you!
2. Protest; bring friends, family and neighbors.
1.Show up fearlessly and make a lot of noise; beat pots, play instruments, and sing the anthem, “¡El pueblo unido jamas será vencido!” The people united shall never be divided!” The sister anthem is Victor Jara’s El derecho de vivir en paz; The Right to Live in Peace.
Meanwhile, the Chilean marches continue daily. I admire their strength, resilience and determination. May paz prevail. ¡Chi-chi-chi-le-le-le!
Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! ¡Olé! -Rebecca