Witness of violence: A tourist in Chile tells his story
Chile has been taken over by protests. Puerto Montt and Santiago are usually peaceful cities in Chile. Due to massive protesting, they are quickly becoming centers of chaos along with other cities in the rest of the country. Citizens of Chile across the nation have taken to the streets to protest against the government.
Puerto Montt is a port city in southern Chile’s Lake District, known as a gateway to the Andes mountains and the Patagonian fjords. It is an example of how protests are spreading across the country like wildfire from provincial cities to the capital of the country and largest city, Santiago.
One million protest
On Friday, October 25, one million protesters marched to Santiago to demonstrate. One million from a country of 17 million. Said @sahouraxo on twitter: One million people marching in the street isn’t newsworthy to the Western media when they’re protesting against a corrupt, US-backed regime I guess.
Traveling in Chile on a German Embassy project, a writer who wants to remain anonymous, compared what he witnessed is happening in Chile with what happens at a football stadium in Germany when 20,000 people come out to watch and 100 turn violent.
It’s the same atmosphere right now in Chile. Masses are turning out for legitimate protests about needed social reforms, but these masses are turning the country into a war zone, damaging tourism, and risking people’s safety.
The President of safertourism.com, Dr. Peter Tarlow, has spent a significant amount of time in Chile. He has praised the country as being organized and modern. Given the current situation, Dr. Tarlow said the country is in need of guidance during these tough times. He has been working for over 2 decades with hotels, tourism-oriented cities and countries, and both public and private security officers and police in the field of tourism security.
How it all began
The protests began after a metro fare hike of $0.04 – a tipping point that has ignited mass protests that began on October 18 and are increasing every day.
On the day of that price increase, students in Santiago called for widespread fare evasion on social media using the hashtag #EvasionMasiva. The demonstrations led to looting in supermarkets, rioting in the streets, and the torching of 22 metro stations.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera replaced his Cabinet on Monday following days of violent protests and called for a state of emergency. Military was sent into the streets, and a curfew was initiated.
Demonstrations have grown in size fueled by increasing frustration from citizens over economic inequalities, living costs, rising debt, dismal pensions, poor public services, and corruption.
At least 20 have died from the protests.