HOY – Result 150,000 in Protest
So here the students protest about the cost of education in Chile. A bachelors degree is 5 years here and costs 32,000 USD or more. They protest because the cost is high for the cost of living and they feel for that amount there should be higher quality and technology. They want it to be free.
So every once in awhile they protest. It is organized. Each university and school votes internally the day before to decide if their school joins the protest. This time it was YES. Classes were still happening but attendance was not compulsory. I was lucky and only had one class of which was canceled earlier this week to be an independent study for our projects.
By this afternoon I had forgot all about it. That was until I decided to go to the main post office in the center of the city. I arrived just a few blocks from my house to the largest street in town, Alameda, and there were absolutely no cars!!! Then I remembered. I found the roads littered with paper everywhere and people were cleaning it up slowly. Many roads were closed so I walked in the middle of the lanes like some others.
Obviously, I wanted to see the protest, having no clue where it was headed I continued walking toward the main plaza. I saw the group and decided to check it out.
There were so many people, all with flags. All along the route there was new graffiti, now I know why everything is so marked up here!!!! From where I was, it seemed calm, people dancing, shouting, etc – normal protest stuff. Eventually I made it to another main street along the river. This is where everyone and anyone was! I had my camera with me so I started taking fotos of the people and the war like vehicles shooting water from afar. Soon though all the people started moving away…and my eyes and nose started to sting. I realized that the reason all were fleeing was because of TEAR GAS. So, yep, I was out of there. I headed back down the street to the barricades (everything was barricaded in this area) and found an exit I saw earlier. I came across lots of police (Carabineros) in various forms. Eventually I made it back to the street where it was all going down but behind the cops. I got to see the destruction. People are quite bad, totally destroying the city, breaking lights and signs and putting huge rocks in the road. Just destructive…it sucks.
So another reason I had my camera is because the class I usually have today is fotografia, and I was to work on my project in its place. The theme of my project is shoes (Zapatos en español – sounds much better), so I saw plenty today…maybe too many! Plus I got some good shots of the whole protest in general.