Protesters in Montreal gathered on Nov. 2 in solidarity with Chilean protests against the government at the Émilie-Gamelin Place.
“People need to believe in making something better and building it together as a society,” said protester Julio Gajardo.
The protesters chanted in Spanish, “a united population will never be defeated!” They performed dances and sang Chilean songs, while others served traditional food, a form of rallying more pacific than the violence occurring in the South-American country.
Turmoil in Chile began amid government decisions to increase subway prices from the equivalent of $1.47 to $1.52, reported the CBC. The same article draws a comparison between military violence and the long-lasting regime of Augusto Pinochet.
“We feel angry, we’re feeling the same way as we did during the dictatorship of 1973,” said Andrea Astral, an organizer of the Montreal protest. “We’re living under the same constitution. But even though we feel a lot of anger, it feels good to see our country fighting for their rights.”
President Sebastián Piñera ordered the police and military forces in Chile to contain the crowds on Oct. 19 after violence erupted among the protesters. The situation has gone viral around the world accusing the Chilean police and military of violating human rights, reported the CBC.
Chile is one of the countries in Latin-America with a major increase in its economy. In fact, its GDP increased by four per cent in the past year, decreasing the rate of poverty. Nevertheless, Chileans are struggling to keep up with the constant increasing prices.
“All pensions are privatized in Chile, except the ones of the military. So if there’s money for the military, why isn’t there for everyone” said Gloria Martinez, a protester in Montreal.
“It feels good, it feels exciting. It’s the least we can do, living here, ” said Gloria Ramirez, another protester. “It’s not enough watching videos, sharing posts on Facebook. The important thing is to participate and be solidary to our people.”
“A feeling of belonging that I haven’t felt in a long time with the Chilean people, seeing that we can join together despite the distance and give support to our families, friends, our grandmothers who are seeing their grandchildren disappear,” Astral said. “We have to be present and do what is possible despite the distance.”
Graphic by @Tiyasha