Santiago police prepares for protests as students return to school

Santiago police has prepared a strategy to prevent protests by high school students from turning violent. 2022 saw several large, and in some cases violent, demonstrations by high school students. This year, police will be deployed around schools and sensitive areas to maintain order.

Chile’s Carabineros police force designed a strategy to respond to possible protests in March.

The Plan Marzo, or March Plan, was created in anticipation of possible problems related to the start of the school year in Santiago. Many Chilean high schools reopen on Mar. 1, and the month has been one of sometimes violent protests.

Carabineros’ director of the Metropolitan area Enrique Monrás told local press that the plan involves the preventive deployment of forces near hotspots like Baquedano metro station and Lastarria neighborhood, along La Alameda, which is Santiago’s main artery, and around schools that have been the epicenter of earlier disturbances.

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Monrás said Carabineros are preparing for two major dates, International Women’s Day on Mar. 8, for which a march has been announced, and Mar. 9, when high school students often take to the streets. 

The mayor of Santiago Downtown, Irací Hassler, urged prospective protesters to “prioritize requests and not with acts of violence. That’s what we want to leave behind,” according to media reports.

Last year’s epicenters of violent protests were the Instituto Nacional, Liceo de Aplicación, Internado Nacional Barros Arana, and Liceo Barros Borgoño schools. Students, returning after two years of online classes due to the pandemic, were protesting a persistent lack of funding and progress. Some protesters threw molotov cocktails, burned buses, and attacked an army compound. 

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