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Canadians Are Warned About Protests In Chile & Even Tweeting About It Is Against The Law

Foreigners aren't allowed to protest or even tweet about protests while in Chile.

The government of Canada is warning Canadians about potential risks to safety while travelling. A travel advisory for Chile is in place because even tweeting about protests while there is breaking the law. Canadians are being asked to be careful while travelling to the South American country.

The Canadian government is warning all Canadians who travel to Chile to exercise a high degree of caution while there due to ongoing demonstrations and civil unrest.

There's also an added risk because it is against the law there for foreigners to participate in political activities. On November 15, Canada updated Chile's travel page to warn about the safety and security risk because of that Chilean law.

Even promoting dissent on social media is breaking the law. 

According to Chilean law, all political activities by foreigners are prohibited and participating in demonstrations or promoting dissent, even on social media, can lead to you being detained and/or deported.

In Chile, temporary and permanent residents are also considered foreingers and they don't have the same legal status as citizens do so their rights are limited.

"The laws do not specifically describe what it means to protest, except to say that it is anything that can put in danger the 'national security' of the country," said Chilean immigration attorney Nury van de Grift Álvarez-Aragón, to Chile Today. "The consequences of protesting and resulting punishments are 'discretionary' to the government in Chile."

That means police forces are able to use a variety of different penalties.

Because of all that, it has been added to Canada's travel advisory for Chile, along with the risks posed by protests and civil unrest.

Back on October 18, an uprising started in Santiago, Chile's capital, and other cities across the country and has turned into nationwide civil unrest and protests.

The protests were initially a reaction to a price hike for subway tickets in Santiago but expanded to involve frustrations of economic inequalities, living costs, rising debt and corruption.

The Canadian government listed violent incidents like arson, looting and clashes between protesters and security that have resulted in casualties as possible safety and security risks.

On October 27, a state of emergency was lifted in Chile and while the situation has improved, the travel advisory has not been lifted and Canadians are still being asked to exercise a high degree of caution.

For Canadians who are in Chile or are planning to visit the country soon, the government suggests avoiding demonstration areas, following instructions of local authorities, allowing extra time to reach their destination and keeping an eye on local media for information. 

According to CNN, on November 15 "Chile's Congress has reached an agreement to reform the country's constitution in an effort to restore peace after weeks of violent protests that have led to the deaths of at least 20 people."

Even if the situation is resolved, it's important to know what your rights are in any country you visit. 

To keep up to date on Canada's travel advisory to Chile go here.

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