by Shawn Gupta
For over a week, large scale protests have occurred all over Chile, especially in the capital, Santiago. The protests began on October 18th, when hundreds of Chileans took to the streets to protest against the rising cost of transportation. The protesters’ initial demands of decreasing the metro prices evolved into dissatisfaction with the high costs of living, high inequality, poor healthcare, and stagnant wages. The number of Chileans participating in these protests has skyrocketed. Initially, there were only a few hundred students protesters in Santiago, but later hundreds of thousands of Chileans, all over the country, are taking to the streets.
As the number of protesters grew, the amount of violence and property damage also grew. Metro stations were vandalized, and buildings were burnt or looted by a few violent protesters. The police responded with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets, in an attempt to halt the protests. Human rights groups have reported that the security forces response to these protests was brutal. It is estimated that hundreds of protesters experienced police brutality, or were detained. As of last Thursday, October 18th, 18 people died in incidents relating to the protest, according to France 24. The United Nations Commission on human rights is sending a team to investigate the alleged violations of human rights in Chile.
Despite the government decreasing the metro prices, declaring a state of emergency in several provinces, and offering new proposals, many Chileans feel that the government has done little to tackle the current problems. Until Chileans see the government taking action to improve healthcare, education, wages, prices, and the standard of living, the protests across Chile might show no signs of stopping.