July 21 - Residents of an area devastated by Chile's massive 2010 earthquake and tsunami clash with police as they protest delays in the reconstruction process. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Demonstrators in central Chile clashed with police on Thursday (July 21) as they blocked a highway in protest at delays on reconstruction projects in the area devastated by the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that rocked the coastal area in 2010. Local reports said several people including police officers were injured in the violence as protesters hurled rocks and other items at police who responded firing tear gas and using water cannons to break up the crowds. The demonstration began Wednesday afternoon (July 20) when local residents banded together and used logs and other materials to block a vital highway leading to the town of Dichato in the Biobio region where thousands were left homeless after the sea swell moved in and swept away much of the area. Many of the victims are still living in temporary homes and say the government needs to do more and work faster to rebuild the area. Police moved into the area in the early morning hours Thursday as they tried to dismantle the roadblock and clear out protesters. The demonstrators were demanding more homes be built as well as a subsidy increase over the cold winter months so they can pay higher electricity costs. The government of President Sebastian Pinera holds that the reconstruction effort is moving forward and says it will increase communication with weary residents and recognized that situations like the one in Dichato always have room for improvement. The February 27, 2010 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami killed more than 500 people and affected hundreds of thousands of Chileans living in the central coast.