The day began like a normal adventurous day in Chile. But, as I crossed Hwy. 5 (the main artery of the entire country of Chile), I noticed traffic was at a stand-still. Carabineros (police) were everywhere forcing cars away from the center of town. I shrugged, thinking little of it, and proceeded down the street to my meeting.
One of the main boulevards in Santiago is Bernardo O’Higgins (one of my favorite streets). After my meeting, I was headed toward O’Higgins, turned the corner and what should I see, but thousands of people (not an exaggeration) carrying banners and marching down the street. My first reaction, after OMG, was “where is my camera.” Over the years, I’ve learned to never, ever leave home without it.
There is a grassy meridian that runs the length of O’Higgins. In order to get in front of the march, I began running up the meridian toward Hwy 5, clicking photos and shooting video as I ran.
Here’s the video of what a Chilean Protest looks like:
If you watched the video, you have observed that the “marchers” were having a wonderful time! Live music, vendors selling flags and snacks, dancing, talking, clapping, listening…in short, a fiesta. The Chilean people have a fantastic attitude. They press the government for socialized medicine, education grants, wage control, and help for the poor. This march shut-down a city of 8 million people, cutting off Hwy. 5, the nations artery as well as the major streets within the city. It would be like shutting down Manhattan for 4 hours. But, no one was upset. No one got angry. Nothing was thrown. No shots fired! Wow!