SANTIAGO – The National Defense headquarters announced that the curfew would be lifted in the Metropolitan Region (MR) and in Los Ríos Region on Oct. 26. The decision was made, according to officials, because normality has been restored in the regions. According to Lmneuquén, President Piñera also said he expects to “lift the state of emergency as soon as possible.” The measure comes after a week of restrictions due to riots and looting throughout the country.
The Chief of National Defense (JDN) announced today that the government was suspending the curfews in the Metropolitan Region (RM). A copy of the JDN’s letter in this regard, available through the Army’s social media, states, “[RM] has reached levels of normality; both in city activity [and] in the daily life of its inhabitants … Actual conditions allow us to decree that there will NOT be any curfew from this moment.”
As of Oct. 25, six days had passed under curfew. With this decree, RM becomes the third region to lift its curfew.
Oct. 26: Curfews Lift Nationwide
Los Ríos region is also dropping its curfew today. The region’s Chief of Defense, General Joaquín Morales, explained on RockandPop radio that “[the measure] comes from a positive response from the majority of citizens living in Valdivia.”
In Valparaíso, National Defense official Juan Andrés De La Maza followed the measure, saying that people were calmer and that the city was ready to resume free movement in the streets.
The curfew lifting in Vaparaíso, however, comes after several complaints of police violence. In Meganoticias, De La Maza assured that “any acts of excess will not remain unpunished.” In La Voz del Norte, Regional Force in-chief General Jorge Morales, confirmed freedom of movement as well in La Serena and Coquimbo.
Previously, other curfew restrictions had been lifted in other regions. On Oct. 25, the restrictions were suspended in the regions of Tarapacá.
Although the lifting of curfews is considered a sign of normality by authorities, the state of emergency remains in all of these regions.
Origin of the Curfew
Curfews were first declared on Oct. 19 in Santiago, after the chaos, arson, and looting that followed the initial protests in the capital and the resulting declarations of a state of emergency.
Soon after that, states of emergency and curfews followed in Valdivia and Concepción and subsequently spread to other areas.
The curfews allowed the JDN to restrict freedom of movement in the context of the states of emergency, and applied to all citizens with a few exceptions.
By Oct. 24, things had calmed down enough (despite the continued momentum of peaceful protests that culminated in the historic numbers of people who attended the protest in Santiago and other cities up and down the country) that President Sebastián Piñera said he intended to begin lifting the curfews. Today’s actions were consistent with that intent.
Camila Huecho is a journalism student at Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, currently interning at Chile Today. As a freelance illustrator and Fellow at the Melton Foundation, she works to bring information and cultures together through communications and art.