Last week in South America, election-related violence continued in Brazil, while university students, teachers, and administrative staff protested education budget cuts. Peronists in Argentina gathered to celebrate Peronist Loyalty Day on 17 October. In Colombia, Embera Indigenous demonstrators clashed with police. In Chile, locals took to the streets to mark the third anniversary of the 2019 protests.
In Argentina, unionists and other members of Peronist organizations marched nationwide to celebrate Peronist Loyalty Day on 17 October. The day marks the 77th anniversary of the historic march in 1945 that called for the release of former political prisoner and president Juan Domingo Perón. Peronist demonstrators also demanded stricter price controls, support for domestic industry, wage increases, and emergency bonus payments in the wake of surging inflation. In Buenos Aires, demonstrators criticized President Alberto Fernández’s administration and called for the candidacy of current Vice President Cristina Kirchner in the next general election (La Nación, 17 October 2022), highlighting ongoing tension within the current Peronist government, the ruling Everyone’s Front (Frente de Todos) coalition.
In Colombia, dozens of people were injured last week when members of the Embera Indigenous community clashed with police in Bogotá during a demonstration against their ongoing displacement from the Chocó and Risaralda departments due to armed group activity. The Embera community claims the local and national authorities have failed to comply with an agreement to ensure their basic needs and their safe return to their lands. The agreement was struck in May 2022 as part of a move to evict approximately 1,200 Embera Indigenous people who had taken refuge in the National Park in Bogotá (El Colombiano, 20 October 2022). Despite the agreement, the Embera people remain in temporary shelters in Bogotá, which they claim are overcrowded and inhumane, leading to health issues (El Colombiano, 20 October 2022).
In Chile, locals took to the streets last week to mark the three-year anniversary of the 2019 protests against social and economic inequality under the former right-wing government (El País, 18 October 2021). Amid the demonstrations, multiple outbreaks of violence were reported. In the capital city of Santiago, demonstrators erected burning barricades, blocked access to several metro stations, and vandalized and looted the firefighters’ headquarters. Police deployed 25,000 officers and used water cannons to disperse the crowd (Diario Libre, 18 October 2022). Similarly, demonstrators looted buses and commercial establishments in Puente Alto commune in the Metropolitan region. In the Providencia district, demonstrators attacked journalists covering the event. These incidents contributed to the 444% increase in violent events in Chile last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during this period.
In Brazil, election-related violence continued across the country last week in the lead-up to runoff elections that will take place on 30 October. In São Paulo city, a shootout between armed suspects and military police took place outside a university in the Paraisópolis neighborhood, where Tarcísio Freitas, the leading candidate in the race for governor of São Paulo and ally of current President Jair Bolsonaro, was campaigning. Police claim that the violence was related to territorial disputes and did not target the candidate directly. The Paraisópolis neighborhood is controlled by the state’s most influential drug trafficking organization, the First Capital Command (UOL, 24 September 2022). Similarly, in the Ceará state, a shooting took place at a venue where President Jair Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, was due to speak at a campaign event; however, there were no reports regarding the identity of the perpetrators or motivation for the attack. (For more on election-related violence, see ACLED’s report on Political Violence During Brazil’s 2022 General Elections).
Meanwhile, students, educators, and administrative staff at federal universities held nationwide protests last week to oppose budget cuts made by the Ministry of Education at the beginning of October. The decision has had immediate consequences for federal educational facilities, as the cuts affect the funds to pay for maintenance bills, equipment, and even ongoing research projects (UOL, 5 October 2022). The demonstrators also criticized incumbent President Bolsonaro’s administration and called for the election of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Correction, 27 October 2022: This Regional Overview previously indicated that the shooting in Brazil’s Ceará state was fatal. It has been updated to clarify that no fatalities were reported during the incident.
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