Coronavirus in Chile

El Bosque: Residents Protest Lack of Food Amid Lockdown

EL BOSQUE – Residents of El Bosque took to the streets on Monday, May 18, to protest the lack of food in the Santiago district. According to the protesters, the authorities haven’t come up with solutions for the people who are without food, water, and shelter. Riot police met the protesters with tear gas and water cannons.

“I don’t have a problem with following the quarantine measures. But what about the people without homes? And what about people who don’t have anything to eat? Where do we eat?!” On national television, one of the protesters in El Bosque described an often-overlooked aspect of coronavirus related restrictions: the lower-income neighborhoods of the Chilean capital are getting hit hard with various aspects of the restrictions and, today, these dire conditions caused the situation to explode in El Bosque.

Dozens of residents took to the streets to demand a solution to the worsening situation. According to testimonies of protesters, there are people who are suffering days with limited food while the local government does nothing to take care of them. Those who protested the surging poverty and hunger today were met with teargas and water cannons from riot police.

The municipality of El Bosque also responded publicly that measures taken by the national government to address pandemic-related social problems so far have been “insufficient.” The municipality asked the government to stop burdening municipalities with economic responsibilities they cannot cover.

Sadi Melo, the mayor of El Bosque, defended the protests on national television. “The people have run out of basics. We are facing a situation of hunger. That is tremendously serious,” Melo said. He also asked for more clarity regarding the announcement President Sebastián Piñera made yesterday. According to the president, the government would start delivering 2.5 million boxes of food to the most vulnerable families in Chile.

The governor of the Metropolitan region, Felipe Guevara, also responded to the protests, saying he empathized with those who are suffering. He added that “the way out of this situation is not to throw stones at the police, to congregate in a place without social distance. […] We don’t get anything out of it by breaking the quarantine. […] I am sure the coronavirus is very happy with how these people are acting.”

Photo Series: Gran Santiago Into Lockdown

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