Santiago, Chile: Reportback from the demonstration for the decriminalization of abortion

Against the capitalization of our abdomens – Autonomy of the body, and fire to the patriarchy

Abortion is the best – I shit on god
Mary wanted to have an abortion

On July 25th, 2013 a march for decriminalization of abortion took place in the City of Santiago. Chile is one of the countries where abortions are banned in all circumstances. Consequentially, women are jailed for abortions, and others die having back-alley abortions.

The march was called for 7pm in Plaza Italia, and at 6pm the metropolitan administration decided to deny the permit that had been issued for the route up the Alameda avenue on the north side to Paseo Bulnes. So the pigs shoved individuals all along the route, trying to clear the northbound lanes of the Alameda. They cut off the route at Paseo Ahumada. There the march stopped, and the police started to clear the lanes so that the buses and cars could pass. They violently shoved the demonstrators, who tried to block the Alameda and shouted slogans — for abortion, against the cops, and to keep going up the Alameda.

After an intense struggle, everyone realized that it was no use, and decided to go up Paseo Ahumada toward the cathedral, in the Plaza de Armas. Arriving suddenly in the square, the demonstrators entered the cathedral during mass. Whistling and yelling slogans (“Keep your rosaries off our ovaries”, among others) they tried to overwhelm the microphone. They painted some slogans inside the cathedral and flipped wooden pews, even pulling a few out of the church.

At that moment the pigs started to attack the people outside the cathedral — the guanaco (an armored car mounted with water cannon) started to blast water, and a few individuals were caught (the exact number of detainees is not confirmed). Meanwhile, the people leaving the cathedral started to run into the surrounding streets, because the area was starting to fill up with cops on motorbikes, with a few guanacos and zorrillos (armored vehicles mounted with gas launchers), and police cars. It was time to go, and the small confrontations ended with everyone taking their own routes home — happy, at least, to have disrupted the mass, one small and symbolic attack and rejection of religion.

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