Xenophobic violence is on the rise in the Chilean area of Iquique and it is specifically targeted at Venezuelan migrants. Iquique is where most undocumented migrants reach from Bolivia.
The aggression took place near the Airport when around 4,000 Chileans were urging authorities demanded more security measures after various Venezuelan nationals attacked two Carabineros (Chilean police) officers Tuesday during a raid at Cavancha beach. Video footage of the incident went viral.
During Sunday's march ironically dubbed No More Violence, the Venezuelans were yelled at, urging them to leave the country: Criminals out!, Get that filth out! and Let them go! by groups waving Chilean flags and black banners.
A Venezuelan was beaten by protesters Sunday and had to be protected by the police.
“In recent times we have seen how our city has changed. We have always been with foreigners, Peruvians and Bolivians, but this has gone beyond all limits and there is terrible crime,” protester Patricia Pizarro was quoted by the Spanish newswire EFE.
At the end of the demonstration, a group attacked the camp which had been already vacated after City Council officers brought down tents at the request of the owner of the property. The eviction was simultnaeous to the protest, it was reported.
According to the Regional Prosecutor's Office, in 2021 homicides in Iquique increased 183%, drug trafficking 42%, migrant smuggling 501%, and robberies with violence and intimidation 18%.
Iquique has already been the scene of protests against immigrants. On September 25, some 3,000 people marched through the city and set fire to migrant camps while chanting xenophobic slogans.
Locals are planning a full-scale strike for Monday, which would also affect the city's port and which is reportedly endorsed by truckers who have also threatened to block the roads to either enter or leave Iquique.