News Alerts

08 Nov 2019 | 02:09 PM UTC

Chile: New security measures to criminalize protests introduced November 7 /update 25

Chile News Alert

President Pinera announces new measures to criminalize protests on November 7; tensions expected to rise

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/8/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/14/2019, 11:59 PM (America/Santiago). COUNTRY/REGION Chile, SAntiago, San Bernardo, Quilicura, Valparaíso, Providencia

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On Thursday, November 7, President Sebastian Piñera announced a new series of security measures meant to criminalize protests. The laws include bans on barricades, blockades, looting, violence, and boosting of surveillance. Further, if the acts are carried out by hooded vandals, penalties may increase. The intention is to weed out the vandals, though are likely to affect average protesters. Said measures will also increase aerial enforcement via an increase in drones. As a result, future protests run the risk of becoming more violent, potentially raising tensions and the frequency of clashes.

Protests have also expanded to additional areas in the Santiago Metropolitan Region. Providenia and the financial district, also known as Sanhattan, areas previously considered free of confrontation, have now seen protests, violence, and clashes as of Wednesday, November 6, and Thursday. Protesters took to these areas to protest deep social inequalities in the ongoing struggle for reform.

A protest is scheduled in the Metropolitan Region on Saturday, November 9, following clashes with police on Wednesday. Protesters are set to gather in Las Condes at the intersection of Avenida Colon and Avenida Padre Hurtado on Saturday as of 16:30 (local time). The group will later march at 17:30 via Padre Hurtado, Alejando Fleming, Vital Apoquindo, Paul Harris, and General Blanche.

In addition, a general strike has been called by several unions for Tuesday, November 18. It appears that some organizations gave Piñera a deadline to satisfy the population's demands and November 18 is the deadline. Participants will call for concrete response from the president. Large protests are likely throughout Santiago and across urban centers such as Valparaiso.

Other protests, including spontaneous ones, are to be expected daily across the capital and urban centers across Chile. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are expected at all demonstrations. Clashes cannot be ruled out.


On November 6, President Sebastian Piñera presented the measure to raise the minimum wage as part of the concessions he announced on October 22. Despite this, protests took place across the country, resulting in clashes. On the same date in Santiago, a protest took place at a shopping center after employees showed up to work and found the center closed. Also, protests organized by No+Tag caused transportation congestion in six communes across Santiago. Violence was also reported in the city of Providencia including fires on roads. Local authorities indicated that such levels of violence had never been seen prior.

Demonstrations began on October 6 after the Chilean government announced an increase in metro and bus fares. The mass protests escalated in Santiago and other cities over the following days to denounce high costs of living, rising electricity prices, the privatization of water, and other social issues. Some estimates indicate that 7000 people have been arrested and 20 people have been killed since the start of the protests. The United Nations announced it would send a mission to Chile in order to investigate claims of human rights abuses during the wave of protests. Movement participants have now begun to call for the creation of a new Constitution through a Constituent Assembly in order to replace the current charter of rights (magna carta) which dates back to Pinochet's dictatorship.


Individuals in Chile, particularly in Santiago, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.


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