16 Oct 2012

Protests vs Violence vs Protests

This is the picture I took, while running. As you can see the picture is terribly underexposed, because I obviously wasn't focused on taking it. But while not focusing on picture taking, I was also not concentrated on running and I ended up in an impenetrable cloud of tear gas only to be saved by a student who dragged me to a nearby stoop, sprayed my face with perfume, wiped the tears from my face, and shielded me from police buses driving by.

Running, choking on tear gas, wincing after being sprayed with pepper spray infused water... this is the inevitable run down of a student protest in Santiago.

Kids with blocks of concrete, molotov cocktails and paint balls rage with all their fury, but in vain against gigantic mounds of steel--government police buses/vans. Tanks against teenagers, it's hardly a fair fight.

Violence has marred the student movement leading to a rift between students and activist groups that support and understand encapuchado behavior, and those who don't.

Rumors that the government spurs this kind of violence spread like wildfire amongst protesters-- that national police always initiate the fight at protests not students, that undercover cops dress like encaupuchados (hooded vandals) to incite violence, that abandoned vehicles are left by the government along the route of a march so that kids will vandalize and burn them.

While hard to prove, the feeling in the air is that the government wants this movement dirty. As long as we keep talking about violence, we won't talk about education.


1 comment:

  1. Always sad to read about these things yet they happen. Saludos from Argentina!