‘Unhappy birthday’, Chilean protesters screamed outside the president’s house yesterday

Chilean cities have continuously been vandalised by protesters for the past six weeks.

Chilean president Sebastián Piñera celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday with protesters outside his working residence demanding political changes.

People gathered at La Moneda Palace yesterday evening using the slogan Real changes and not just a paracetamol whilst the president blew his 70th candle – as police tried to suppress protests.

The movement was organised on social media by several Chilean civil groups, which are the engine of the national discomfort, publishing comments with the trending-topic hashtag #unfelizcumpleaños, meaning #unhappybirthday.

Prior to the “unhappy birthday” celebration, president Piñera had already been denounced by feminist activists over a week ago. They recorded videos saying “the State is a rapist male”.

Oswaldo Pacheco, 25, accountant manager for L’Oreal Chile, said:

 

“There is no equality in the entire system when it comes to social issues, economic issues, opportunities for young people, social and health care. That is why the protests started”.

Pacheco, who lives in Santiago, said that people from the upper west side of the city, where his workplace is, are “very scared” since the protests have lost their main focus.

He added: “If you ask me right now, the purpose of this protests died and nobody cares anymore. It is just vandalism, people who enjoy burning and getting rid of the supermarkets.”

After 45 days of continuous protests and destruction of public property, in which approximately 75 underground stations have been damaged, the government has decreed state of emergency and curfew.

Despite the recent increase of both pension rates and minimum wage, Chilean citizens still believe that deeper changes need to be made, starting with the national constitution.

According to Cadem statistics, 52% of the population aims for rewriting the Magna Carta from scratch, whereas another 42% prefers to make partial changes over the existing articles.

Apart from the salary’s modification, the National Executive posted on twitter that a new governmental plan had been released with the intention of safeguarding public structure:

“The Law Project has two advantages: enhance the protection of our basic infrastructure which is essential for the development of Chile and our quality of life. Besides, hundreds of police officers will be able to reinforce the public order, the security of our families and social peace.”

However, six weeks of protesting acts have left about 25 people dead, five of them having been killed by governmental forces. Another 300 people have suffered ocular injures.

With Christmas festivities approaching, Chile currently faces the biggest social explosion in 30 years, since Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, which ended in March 1990.

President Piñera said on Twitter on 24 November: “We profoundly regret each of the deaths that have occurred and all citizens who have been injured.”

President Piñera also highlighted many of his projects, which aim to provide more security to residents of Chile, are being held in the Congress.

He said: “I want to make a call to the other State Powers, political sectors and the civil society, to collaborate and work together against violence.”