San Francisco in Solidarity with Chile

Berklee Lowry-Evans

¡Patagonia vive; la lucha sigue! (Patagonia lives; the fight goes on!)

¡Los que no saltan son de HidroAysén! (Those who aren't jumping are with HidroAysén!)

¡Paaaatagonia – Sin Represas! (Patagonia - Without Dams!)

These were just some of the messages I spent the morning chanting at a demonstration in front of the Chilean Consulate in San Francisco. Between 9am and 1pm, about 75 people came out to support the Chilean movement for a Patagonia Sin Represas.

We carried colorful banners, waved signs, jumped, chanted, banged on pots and pans, blew whistles, rattled maracas, and passed out flyers to passers-by with information on why HidroAysén is opposed by 74% of Chileans and how they can help stop it.

Our demonstration was also complimented by call-to-action I launched this morning, asking people to call Chilean consulates and embassies today to support the massive protests happening today and tomorrow in Chile. Although the consulates and embassies are now closed for the day, I still encourage you to call and leave a message.

Our protest was but one of the many that will be happening this weekend. Events are planned for all 39 cities in Chile, plus at least 50 more places around the world. The largest turnouts are expected for Santiago and Valparaíso, where President Piñera will deliver his State of the Union address on Saturday.

Although the use of tear gas was banned earlier this week due to fears that it could induce abortions, a lickety-split study was conducted and tear gas was declared safe - surprise, surprise - one day before tomorrow's big protests. When you leave a message for the embassy or consulate, be sure to say that you're concerned about the police violence against protestors.

I just read a great article (translated into English) that helps explain - from a Chilean perspective - why the Chilean reaction to HidroAysén has been so strong and overwhelmingly negative. I highly recommend reading it.

Finally, many thanks to everyone who came out today in San Francisco, to the people organizing protests in other cities around the world, to everyone who has made or will make calls to the Chilean consulates and embassies, and to all the Chileans who are tired of letting their government and corporations do whatever they please with their shared precious places such as Patagonia. The world is paying attention and supports democracy, human rights, and free-flowing rivers in Chile.

¡Paaaatagonia - Sin Represas!

More information: 

Thanks to my new friend Steve Byrne for letting me use his photos from today's event. Check out more of his beautiful photography.