5,000 people protested in Iquique, in northern Chile, against illegal immigration. A protest that ended with a shocking scene: the belongings of homeless Venezuelans burned.
It is “One of the most inhuman scenes seen recently in Chile”, writing The country : an anti-immigration demonstration gave rise to a blaze where “The rare possessions of a group of homeless Venezuelans”, Saturday September 25 in Iquique. “Tents, mattresses, clothes, children’s toys […] and papers ” burned down after a spontaneous demonstration in this city located in the Atacama Desert.
5,000 residents mobilized through social networks, following violent altercations Friday between families of migrants who had pitched tents in a town square and the police came to dislodge them. The demonstrators intended to denounce “The uncontrolled presence of foreigners and the lack of control […] at the border”, abstract The country. It was at a street corner that a group of Chileans lit the blaze and started throwing in the belongings of a dozen families living in a public space, who had previously been able to find refuge.
Gateway to the country by land, the North of Chile is faced with a “Humanitarian and health crisis” linked to the sharp rise in irregular arrivals of foreigners in recent years. The irregular entries of Venezuelans and Haitians have notably increased significantly, the former now representing nearly a third of foreigners in Chile according to official figures. Which leads to what “Dozens of families of foreigners pitch their tents in public spaces”, indicated The country.
Denounced by the United Nations as “An inadmissible humiliation”, the events in Iquique provoked many reactions in Chile, divided between denunciation and the demand for reinforced border controls. In Chilean daily life The Mercury, the mayors of Iquique and Colchane, another city in northern Chile, are asking on the one hand for more immigration control, and on the other hand for the creation of accommodation centers for migrants. For its part, the Chilean prosecution has launched an investigation to identify the perpetrators and will help 16 people who saw their business burned.