NATIONAL Social Crisis

Chile braces for anniversary of October 2019 uprising  

On the second anniversary of the social uprising, protests causing massive disruption took place especially in Santiago. Three police stations were attacked, while a protest was staged using a shopping mall in flush Providencia district as backdrop. Some public figures hailed the uprising, but one presidential candidate described it as a “nightmare.”

Santiago has been rocked by protests on the second anniversary of the social uprising. And more than 50 protests are planned across the country, in response to which the Carabineros police deployed 5,000 officials.

Antonia Rolan, a spokesperson for secondary education student organization Aces, said in a statement that “no transformation is possible without the people as the protagonist.” Massive metro fare evasion by secondary students in early October 2019 sparked the uprising.

Repeating the moment, protesters occupied several metro stations and reenacted the mass evasions, severely disrupting public transport.

Others rappelled down a walkway linked to the iconic Costanera Center shopping mall in Providencia district and unfurled a poster mid air hailing the October uprising.

Also, three police stations in a low-income district were attacked by a multitude in the early morning hours. The attackers eventually withdrew, news outlet Biobío Chile reported.

Human Rights

The director of the national human rights institute (INDH), Sergio Micco, was quoted as saying by local media that the state had not sufficiently acknowledged that its officials had “committed serious violations, compromising individual, civil and institutional criminal responsibilities” in response to the uprising. Micco criticized the lack of progress dealing with these violations. Of 3,072 complaints related to the uprising, only four led to convictions while 136 agents of the state faced trial.

He said protesters were rarely acknowledged as victims of human rights violations and eligible for compensation.

The October 18 social outbreak triggered a seismic shift, bringing corporate abuse, meager pay and low pensions to the fore of public debate. Before, business and political elites at home and abroad widely described Chile as Latin America’s capitalist success story.

Coincidentally, the Constitutional Convention, which emerged from a plebiscite that was one result of the uprising, has begun drafting the new Constitution on the anniversary. 

Far-right presidential candidate, José Antonio Kast, who has surged in the polls, rejected the commemoration, Biobío Chile reported. Chile “did not wake up, that day Chile lived in a nightmare,” he said, referring to the protest chant ‘Chile woke up’ (‘Chile despertó’).


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