Behind the Photo: Protests in Chile

Photo and words by Carlos Musalem

For a month now, the streets of Chile have been submerged in chaos.

It all started with a 30 pesos rise in the train fare. But that was just the trigger; the truth is the people in Chile have lived with abandonment and abuse for 30 years.

While protestors involved in the ’30 pesos revolution’  may hide their faces, they did not hide their intentions or demands. Even while breathing tear gas, the people will continue to sing louder and rally against the government. Some of the protesters try to contain the police so that they can’t disperse the singing crowds, which leads to increasing violence on both sides. The police shoot and the protesters create barricades to stop them from coming.

With stones and improvised shields, people face the armed police. Volunteer doctors run into the middle of the battlefield to help the wounded. The repression has been extreme. We try to protect ourselves with helmets and goggles.

In total so far, there have been 23 deaths and 222 people with severe eye trauma resulting from being shot in the face with pellets. Mutilation is used as a tool of public control. In the middle of the fight sits this armoured truck in the photo, meant to spread tear gas among the crowds. The vehicle seems damaged only by stones and paint. To me, this image expresses the imbalance of forces within the battle.

To find out more about the protests in Chile, check out the widespread coverage from any reputable news source. The New York Times, the BBC, and Al Jazeera are always a good place to start. To see more from Carlos Musalem, follow him on Instagram @cimt or check out his website

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