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May Day is International Worker’s day. In Santiago, tens of thousands of people came out to celebrate. And a few, to graffiti, throw rocks, and do battle with the police.

El primero de mayo (the first of May) has long been a pro-workers celebration holiday. In Chile, continual struggles on the part of the CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores), a workers’ movement, to raise the minimum wage to approximately $500 US per month have failed. When Arturo Martínez, the president of the group, got on stage this year, he was booed and whistled at.

The march started at around 11AM and proceeded peacefully for ten blocks until around 12:20, when a group of encapuchados (hooded protesters) started pulling back barricades, uprooting street signs, and throwing rocks at the police. The march was called off, but a small group eventually made their way to Plaza Brasil, where a stage had been set up to read letters to the government detailing workers’ demands.

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About The Author

Eileen Smith

Eileen Smith is the editor of Matador Abroad. She's an ex-Brooklynite who's made a life in Santiago, Chile. She's a fluent Spanish speaker who can be found biking, hiking, writing, photographing and/or seeking good coffee and nibbles at most hours of the day. She blogs here.

  • petermurphy

    Great pics. Felt like I was there. 

  • Matt

    Great piece Eileen.

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