Our Family Adventure: Our family of four lives abroad for a year.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Día de las Glorias Navales: the preparation
Workers remove benches in the Plaza so they can't be damaged by unruly mobs (I'm not kidding!).
While others fret about the end of the world, Valparaíso is preparing for a big day of its own. May 21 is Día de las Glorias Navales (Day of Naval Glories), when Chile celebrates the 1879 Battle of Iquique. It's also the start of a new session of Congress, and the Chilean president's version of the State of the Union address. As such, it also is traditionally a day of parades and mass political protests throughout the country. Apparently the protests often turn violent -- you can almost feel the tension this week as police, politicians, and protesters prepare for confrontations. Streets and parks are being emptied of anything that can be moved or thrown, and we've seen armored police vehicles with water cannons downtown. The big news for this year is that the Interior Minister has declared that the police must not use tear gas. We'll post after the weekend to let you know how it went, assuming we're all still around by then!