Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Día de las Glorias Navales: the aftermath

'Protesters' looting a store in Valparaíso last Saturday.
The day was far from glorious.  The newspaper today had a grim tally of the damage from the 'protest' from last Saturday (Gracie and Lojo's report here).  The total is estimated at $40 million Chilean pesos, or about $85,000, and includes 4 traffic lights, 20 garbage cans, 15 lamp posts, 4 public telephones and damage to several buildings.

There are also charges being brought against several people who attacked military members who were marching in the parade.

Politicians are discussing making a change in date or in location for the president's state-of-the-union address for next year, arguing that having it on the day meant to be a celebration of national unity just isn't working out.  The way things are going, a lot of families won't want to go downtown to celebrate the holiday, out of fear for their lives.

It's a shame:  from my perspective, the holiday should be cause for celebration and national unity, and political protests on the day of the state of the union speech are also probably a healthy thing.  Too bad a relatively small group of people choose to create random mayhem instead.


  1. This kind of protest and violence, unfortunately, are all too typical of what goes on in most countries in Latin America. There are always some people on the fringes who seek any opportunity to protest, destroy, and then loot.
    The relative lack of such stuff in the USA is one reason I appreciate living here.

    Jim R.

  2. Hi Jim - I agree, we have less of it, but not a lot less. I was present (though not a participant!) at the birth of RABL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Anarchist_Bowling_League) in Minneapolis in 1987. And the recent 'demonstrations' at the Republican convention in St. Paul also had a few miscreants who purport to have goals and ideology, but really just like to wreck stuff. I'm afraid it's universal.