Outrage over armed neo-Nazi protest in Santiago, Chile

"Chile did not end its military dictatorship to accept these challenges to its democracy."

Neo-nazi protesters are seen using the Nazi salute in Santiago, Chile. (photo credit: SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER)
Neo-nazi protesters are seen using the Nazi salute in Santiago, Chile.
(photo credit: SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER)
Antisemitism watchdog Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on the Chilean authorities to take action following a public demonstration by armed neo-Nazi groups in Santiago.
The demonstration, held Saturday to protest a new constitution, saw numerous armed neo-Nazi protesters present, with at least one notable protester wearing a shirt that said "F**k You Israel" over a Jewish star with a cancel sign, according to local news outlet Lanacion.
"To see uniformed Nazis marching in Santiago – in ideological lockstep with antisemitic leftist pro-Palestinians – is a step to the abyss," Simon Wiesenthal Center international relations director Dr. Shmuel Samuels said in a statement.
"Chile did not end its military dictatorship to accept these challenges to its democracy."
“How long will we have to wait for the protection of Jewish citizens in Chile?" Simon Wiesenthal Center Latin America director Dr. Ariel Gelblung added.
"Hate knows no boundaries. It is neither from the Right nor from the Left. Hate is devious. It calls for legislative action. If not immediate, it will be too late to regret.”
The presence of neo-Nazis at the protest prompted harsh condemnation from politicians, organizations and the local Jewish community.
"We cannot accept that this is something that happens," government minister Jaime Bellolio said on Sunday, Lanacion reported.
"Nazism is an ideology incompatible with democracy and with respect for human dignity," said politician Diego Schalper from the party Renovación Nacional (RN) over Twitter.
"[Nazism] has nothing to do with rejecting the refundational blank page," he explained, equating it with left-wing extremism.
"Eradicating gestures that promote hatred and violence is the path of human rights for everyone, without distinction," Chilean human rights organization the National Institute of Human Rights (INDH) over social media.
"We condemn and are again concerned about the presence of neo-Nazi groups underway in Santiago," representatives from the local Jewish community said on Twitter.
"Hate speech does not contribute anything to the flag of Chile that we want. Legislation is urgently needed to condemn incitement to hatred and violence. We expect action from the government in response to this incident."