Protests drop in intensity in a Viña del Mar surrounded by thousands of agents

The shops of Viña del Mar closed Monday three hours earlier than usual, after a night of violence that forced the authorities to redouble the police device to contain the protests against the music festival that is being held these days in the spa town .

Despite the multitude of calls that circulated through social networks, the protests dropped in intensity compared to Sunday, when there were hard clashes between agents and protesters and hooded attacked the emblematic Hotel O'Higgins, mounted barricades and looted several businesses.

"It is they (the policemen) who come to rape us, to provoke us. You have seen it, we were quietly and arrived with motorcycles and firing tear gas bombs. They no longer let us even be in the squares," Felipe Gutierrez told Efe, A 24-year-old engineer at Plaza Vergara, in the center of the city, a few meters away from the venue where the music contest takes place.


Under the slogan "Streets with blood, Viña without festival", hundreds of people returned to concentrate to protest against a festival that they believe should have been canceled due to the serious crisis in the country, with about thirty dead and thousands injured since October , in addition to accusations against the security forces for human rights violations.

"Viña is one of the cities with the most camps (informal housing) in Chile, with people in vulnerability, who do not have access to basic services, who do not have drinking water. It is an insult to spend so much money on a festival," he denounced Efe the thirty-year-old Fernanda Varas.

The police force of Carabineros, which displaced more brigades from the capital, dispersed the concentrations with a large amount of tear gas although these were mostly peaceful.

"Carabineros (Chilean Police) has controlled violent groups and at the time there have been no excesses like yesterday. We hope it will continue like this," Jorge Martínez, mayor (governor) of Valparaíso, the region where he is located, said in his Twitter account Vineyard.

The official balance of this Monday is still unknown, but Efe witnessed at least four arrests at Plaza Vergara. On Sunday night he left 24 people arrested, 29 police officers injured, nine stores ransacked and a dozen cars burned, according to the Interior Ministry.

"I do not like violence and I have not thrown or will throw a stone in my life, I do not like such a country, but there have been many years of abuse and inequality. Also, what society has made changes without a minimum degree of violence "asked Federico Rojas, a retired professor.


One of the worst unemployed in this festival has been the symbolic Hotel O'Higgins, official lodging of the invited artists until 2006. After being attacked on Sunday by a group of hooded men and with the lobby completely destroyed, the establishment announced on Monday that closing indefinitely.

The workers struggled early to remove the broken glass and collect the stones thrown by the attackers. The guests, including journalists, artists and festival workers, had to be evacuated a few hours until the situation calmed down.

"Faced with the events that occurred yesterday that caused serious damage to municipal and private property, jeopardizing the life and integrity of our staff and our clients, we have been forced to suspend the operation of the hotel indefinitely," the management said. a statement.

"We have no assurance (that) they will not happen again," they added.


The president of the country, the conservative Sebastián Piñera, resumed his agenda on Monday after a few days of summer rest and asked all sectors of society and politics to condemn any act of violence, statements that sat badly in the center opposition. left.

"The time has come for a great agreement for democracy, against violence and for peace. This agreement must include not only condemning violence, not only defending democracy and the rule of law, but also condemning those who do not condemn the violence, "said the president, who has the lowest popularity in the country's recent history.

Maria M. Mur


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