The demonstrators in the city of Iquique, which has a population of 190,000 people, located two thousand kilometers from the capital Santiago, carried Chilean flags and banners reading “No to illegal immigration! Chile is a self-respecting republic.”
Venezuelans represent the largest foreign community in Chile with a recorded presence of about 400,000 people, a number that could be higher given the increase in illegal entries across the northern border since 2020.
“The Chilean government has allowed it, and the people who arrive are not political refugees, nor are immigrants bringing their expertise. Those who arrive here are delinquents!” said Velez Revo, a 48-year-old farmer.
Clashes erupted when protesters attacked Venezuelan immigrants living in the streets, and the police were forced to intervene.
Other demonstrators also entered a small camp for migrants abandoned by its residents, and burned tents and mattresses, according to what “AFP” witnessed.
This demonstration took place the day after the police evacuated a camp for migrants that had been set up a year ago in a square in the city. Most of these immigrants are poor and do not have identification papers, and they are stranded and do not have the means to move to the capital.
According to the immigration authorities, “23,673 people entered Chile illegally between January and July, an increase of seven thousand people compared to 2020”.