Anti-US protests in Chile ahead of Obama visit

Two peaceful demonstrations were held in Chile Sunday protesting the upcoming visit of President Barack Obama and rejecting a recently signed US-Chilean nuclear agreement.
Some 2,000 people marched in downtown Santiago against Obama's visit on Monday in an event organized by the environmental group Greenpeace.
The protesters were angry that Chile signed a nuclear energy agreement on Friday with the United States despite Japan's huge atomic crisis.
Like Japan, Chile lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped region that is prone to severe earthquakes. Just last year Chile suffered its own monster 8.8 quake and accompanying tsunami which killed more than 500 people.
Opposition lawmakers and environmentalists say the atomic agreement is too risky for a country with such dramatic seismic activity.
"Nuclear energy is energy of death," read one sign. "Neither invasion of Libya nor nuclear energy" read another.
Chile, a net energy importer, has two small experimental nuclear reactors, used for medicinal and technological applications. It has a formal commitment not to make any decision in the next 10 years about building a nuclear plant.
Some 300 people, including influential union leaders and members of Chile's Communist Party, earlier marched in the downtown Plaza de Armas carrying banners that read "Obama Persona No Grata" and "Gringos Go Home."

"This demonstration is to reject Barack Obama's militaristic policies," protest organizer Ricardo Sole told AFP.

Obama to arrive Monday from Brazil, is to meet Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and deliver a speech to the region.


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