Protesters in northern Chile protest against Venezuelan migrants



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Iquique (Chile) (AFP)

About 3,000 people marched on Saturday in the port city of Iquique, in northern Chile, to protest the presence of undocumented Venezuelans, protesters fighting with migrants and a radical fringe setting fire to property in a Empty immigrant camp.

Marching protesters shouted “No more illegal immigration” and sang the local anthem as well as the national anthem of Chile, warning that “Chile is a republic that will be respected”.

Police have stepped in to put an end to a number of minor brawls which they say were caused by Chileans who attacked Venezuelan migrants living on the streets.

Protesters marched from Old Iquique about 10 blocks to the Pacific Ocean, where hotels and apartments line the waterfront.

Migrants have been rushing into the city since Saturday morning to try to find less visible places to camp, AFP journalists said.

Chileans march against undocumented migrants in Iquique, Chile, September 25, 2021 MARTIN BERNETTI AFP

The protest took place a day after police evacuated a migrant camp that had existed for a year in the town square. Most of the migrants, poor and undocumented, are stranded in the city, surviving odd jobs with no way to reach the capital.

“The hundred families” who lived in the square “now wander through various public spaces … where Iquique is located.

More radical protesters went to a small camp set up by Venezuelan migrants – who were not there – and burned their few possessions: tents, mattresses, bags, blankets and toys.

Chile is the richest country in Latin America per capita.

Venezuelan migrants take refuge by the sea to avoid attack by protesters during a march in Iquique, Chile, September 25, 2021
Venezuelan migrants take refuge by the sea to avoid attack by protesters during a march in Iquique, Chile, September 25, 2021 MARTIN BERNETTI AFP

Venezuela, meanwhile, is going through an unprecedented economic and political crisis that has led millions of people to leave their country, rich in oil resources but poorly managed and plagued by dysfunction.

Venezuela’s national currency, the bolivar, has lost 73% of its value against the dollar so far this year. Inflation is around 3,000 percent.


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