Protests erupt in Santiago, São Paulo

santiago protest

Protesters and riot police clashed on the outskirts of the Chilean capital Santiago May 17, amid growing anger over food shortages during the lockdown imposed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Police deployed armored vehicles, water cannons and tear-gas to put down protests in the poor district of El Bosque. Residents blocked traffic and hurled stones at police in running clashes that lasted most of the day. Sporadic incidents were also reported in other parts of the city. Nightly pot-banging protests have been held for weeks in several neighborhoods, promoted under the hashtag #CacerolasContraElHambre—or, pot-banging against hunger.

President Sebastián Piñera, in a televised address after the protests, pledged assistance to those in need. Chile has recorded more than 46,000 cases of COVID-19 so far, with 478 deaths.

That same day, hundreds of protesters poured out of the favelas to fill the main streets of São Paulo, Brazil. In an audacious move, the favela residents marched on the state governor’s palace, demanding more support in the face of the lockdown.

With President Jair Bolsonaro openly dismissive of the crisis, COVID-19 has claimed over 15,000 lives in Brazil. São Paulo is one of the country’s worst-hit areas, with nearly 3,000 deaths so far. The city’s mayor, Bruno Covas, is warning that hospitals are at 90% capacity and could be fully overwhelmed over the next two weeks. He accused those who violate lockdown orders of playing “Russian roulette” with people’s lives. (BBC News, BBC News, Bloomberg, NHK World, Radio Rebelde, Piensa Prensa)

Photo: Piensa Presna