It didn’t draw thousands of protesters to the city center and it wasn’t reported by the mainstream media, but a protest in front of an elite Catholic school in Santiago is just as ominous a portent as any for Chile’s under-pressure President.
It was just like any other afternoon in Santiago’s upscale communa of Las Condes as the students of the Colegio del Verbo Divino(“College of the Divine Word”) were being picked up by there parents. As a private school, El Verbo is still holding classes, unlike its public counterparts.
This little protest happened a daw after thousands of protesters, undeterred by sleet and chill, took to the streets in protest. Unlike what happened yesterday, and what has been happening for three months now, today’s won’t go viral online and it probably won’t get picked up by local media – let alone by international publications.
But this little protest was hugely significant, not least because of where it took place – in one of the most affluent communas and elite schools in the country, a school whose alumni includes current President Sebastián Piñera and Secretary General, Andrés Chadwick.
Santiago is a city in which economic divides takes stark, geographic form. If the young protesters’ slogan was not explicit enough, the fact that this march happened where it happened clearly demonstrates that the student movement is going beyond the traditional divides of ideology and class that are so prominent in Chilean society.
Protests are happening everyday now, on suburban blocks, quiet streets and, in the case of cacerolazos, even in people’s homes. No longer can it be said that this is just a movement of the left, or the disadvantaged or the young. This is an uprising that is endorsed by the majority, it is an uprising that has energy and a momentum that – at least for now – feels unstoppable.