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Groups of hooded protesters threw stones against the crowd. “The people started to run, there were babies, children crying, it was a chaos”, explains one of the mothers attending the march.
Thousands of evangelicals marched on Saturday 27 October through the centre of Santiago de Chile (capital city of Chile) for the annual “March For Jesus”.
The public event was also held in other thirty cities. The Chilean church celebrates the official “National Day of Evangelical And Protestant Churches”.
The celebration was started in 2008 for every 31 October. But the authorities have moved the date several times in the last years, to accommodate the festivity to weekends.
The participants started in the four cardinal points of Santiago to converge in the Citizenship Square, in front of the La Moneda Palace, where the Chilean government is located. There, the march ended with the usual manifesto.
“For a generation that knows God” was the theme of this year’s gathering. Some participants also expressed their opposition to draft laws which “threaten life and family”.
Chile passed a law in 2017 which decriminalizes abortion when the life of the mother is at risk, when there is foetal infeasibility or rape. Nevertheless, the parliament is discussing a project to further liberalize abortion.
According to Alan Roldán, coordinator of the march, “the routes of the march aim to visibilize the positions of the evangelical community in society and our conviction to participate in the decisions the country takes in all kind of issues”.
ANARCHISTS ATTACK THE MARCH
The March For Jesus was tarnished when a large group of hooded anarchists burst into the march with violence. According to the police, “a group of 150 antifascists and anarchists gathered in the place, and started to throw blunt objects” against the participants of the march – as well as police officers.
Carol Espinaza, an evangelical pastor attending the march, told Latin American news website Evangélico Digital that the attackers threw stones against the participants of the march, even when many children were leading the march. “People started to run, there were babies in their prams, children crying, it was a chaos”, Espinaza said.
A policeman was injured after a stone hit his head, and had to be brought to hospital. Two participants in the march were also brought to a medical centre.
The organisation of the March for Jesus said in a statement they were “profoundly affected because acts of violence like these tarnished our celebration. Fellow brothers and sisters marching peacefully were injured and intimidated”.
— Marcha por Jesus (@MarchaporJesus) 27 d’octubre de 2018
After the intervention of the Special Forces, at least 19 people were arrested.