Actors of Chile Unite!

South Africa is a country which experiences countless and very frequent strikes by various industries. Late last year for instance after the euphoria of the world cup had died down and life returned to “normal”, the country was hit by a wave of strikes which snowballed from one industry to another until I don´t think there were any industries who had not been on strike over a period of a month of two. Much of the good image that South Africa had presented to the world during the tournament was shattered by images of protestors on the rampage, destroying public property etc.

In Chile I have not seen as many strikes, but every so often there are protests for different causes. While mostly I would want to avoid being anywhere near a protest, a few weeks ago I got to participate in a protest/strike that was slightly different to the normal banner waving, shouting crowds you see during protests…

Many of Chile´s most famous actors and actresses met at a cultural centre in Providencia to strike against the local TV channels who are not abiding by a law regarding intellectual property rights

Chile´s acting community had decided that enough was enough and they planned the first ever strike in the industry with no actors turning up to the TV stations to record shows etc. The reason for the strike is the fact that the TV channels are not abiding by a law which states that when a show or movie or sitcom etc gets repeated the actors are entitled to fair compensation for the repeats. Right now they get very little or often nothing and this is in fact illegal.

Since Coni is an actress, most of the people I have met and got to know in Santiago are in the entertainment industry – actors, actresses, directors, producers, musicians etc…So when she told me about this protest I thought it would be great to go along and support. Plus a friend, Stefanie, was visiting Santiago on her two year trip around the world and so we thought this would be an interesting morning and definitely not a normal tourist activity…

It turned out to be the most lively, entertaining, colourful and fun protest, with the most good looking protestors you could ever imagine. All the people who got up on the stage to say something were actors and thus were very well spoken and charismatic and got the crowd going. Then apart from the commentary, there were three or four different bands playing and the crowd was dancing around as if this was a celebration instead of a protest. At one point Stefanie and I got pulled into a train of people dancing around which was fun, apart from the fact that my knee was still not great. There were loads of TV cameras and journalists filming the protest, but unfortunately none of the footage made it onto the news that day simply because the message was going against the very stations that were filming it and obviously they wouldn´t want to show anything bad for their images. So much for my 15 minutes of fame!!! It did make it into the print media and drew much attention through facebook and twitter etc. So hopefully it was the start of alot of pressure to get the channels to abide by the law…

Definitely a strike with a difference...singing, dancing, cheering and NO violence!!!

If not, then I wouldn´t mind participating in another similar protest in the future…it definitely was a different way to spend a morning!!!

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