Chilean student protest - gas canisters and rocks

Jul 23, 2017, 04:08 PM

Recorded by Mark Wilden in Valdivia, Chile.

"Here's a sound from this week's student protest in Valdivia, southern Chile. It's a port and university town just inland from the Pacific coast. We were trying to get onto the university campus to visit the botanic gardens, but the road was blocked off by police; on taking a detour we saw from 100-200m away a disorganised crowd of students, some with faces covered, throwing occasional rocks at police vehicles which seemed to be retreating. Soon afterwards, police reinforcements came and were bombarded with more rocks; as I was recording the police fired a water cannon at the students. It would have felt rather exposed to get the Zoom recorder so this was recorded from some distance on the iPhone microphone, which isn't ideal, but you can nevertheless hear the pings of rocks hitting the armoured car. After the recording finished the police fired gas canisters at the protesters, some of which were kicked back, and at that point we left before it escalated further. I discovered later that one student was "gravely injured" on being hit by a CS gas canister. Apparently there was a national day of protest against education reform on the next day (I think the protests were in favour of free education), at which 100+ arrests were made, including bystanders with no connection to the protests."

Part of the Protest and Politics project - find out more at