News Alerts

12 Nov 2019 | 01:14 PM UTC

Chile: Nationwide general strike called November 12 /update 27

Chile News Alert

National general strike is scheduled for November 12; significant transportation disruptions and heightened security presence expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/12/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/15/2019, 11:59 PM (America/Santiago). COUNTRY/REGION Chile, SAntiago, San Bernardo, Quilicura, Valparaíso, Providencia, Valparaíso, Talca, Cauquenes, Los Andes, Arica, San Antonio, Coquimbo (Coquimbo region), Antofagasta, Santiago International Airport

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Event

The Social Unity Board has called for a nationwide strike on Tuesday, November 12, in an ongoing national social movement that has affected the country for four weeks.

Many sectors have committed in joining the strike, including teachers, miners, the health sector and parts of the public service sector, among many others. Mobilizations and protests are therefore to be expected across the country, including in Santiago, Valparaiso, Talca, Cauquenes, Los Andes, Arica, San Antonio, Coquimbo, and Antofagasta, and many more.

The central march will take place in Santiago at 12:00 (local time) starting from Plaza Italia. Unions will identify their own individual march routes, which will produce a disorderly distribution of protesters across the city. Another gathering will be held at Plaza Italia at 17:00, and in other cities protesters are asked to gather in main squares. At 20:00, protesters across the country are called to participate in caceroleros, or generating noise using kitchen utensils.

Staff at Santiago International Airport (SCL) are notably expected to join in on the strike. Their union representative ANEF announced its staff will take part in the mobilizations in Santiago, likely resulting in a short-staffed airport. This may prompt delays and cancelations throughout the day.

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.

Context

On 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. 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.

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.

Police have continued to use water cannons and tear gas, among other methods of crowd control, which international human rights organizations have denounced as violations. Some estimates state that over 150 people have been left blind or partially blind since the start of the protests. As of November 10, INDH states that 5629 people are detained and 2009 people are hospitalized.

Advice

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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