On Sunday, the largest number of protesters ever in Santiago, Chile turned out for the International Women’s Day march! The march is called “8M” in Chile, for 8th of March. The carabineros (police) admit there were 150,000 people downtown. Funny thing is, the organizers estimated 2 million people. Something doesn’t quite add up. Even the law of averages pushes the numbers close to a million marchers. The administration of the Metropolitan Region estimated more than 1,200,000 attendees. That sounds closer to the truth. The protest was against gender violence and discrimination and for equal pay.
One thousand six hundred police were called out to custodiar (take care of) the protest, make sure it was peaceful. Although it was, the carabineros used water cannons, pepper spray and tear gas on the women and girls in several locations to keep them from amassing at full force. There were 12 marchers wounded and 36 taken to jail.
Protests persist and the police’s human rights violations continue in Santiago and throughout the country. Both are under-reported in the US and Chilean news. I am worried because the national plebiscite is next month. The Chilean population will vote 26 April if they want a new constitution (a majority do) and whether they would like the convention made up of everyday citizens (Constitutional Convention) or a mix of the parliament and elected citizens (Mixed Constitutional Convention). Considering the blatant censorship and the police brutality since last October, I doubt an honest outcome for the election. I fear the iron fist reaction to the protests that would happen if the majority of Chileans vote for a Constitutional Convention (which seems likely) but the official results say a Mixed Constitutional Convention won the vote (which is predictable).
Please keep the people of Chile’s welfare in your thoughts and prayers.
Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco. ¡Olé! -Rebecca