Chile: violence forces cancellation of healthcare meeting

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A major healthcare meeting has been cancelled due to civil unrest in Chile.

The 2019 Chocrane Colloquiem was due to be held in Santiago but widespread rioting in the capital, which has so far led to 18 deaths, forced organisers to cancel the four-day event in its entirety.

Organisers said they were creating a ‘virtual space’ for posters and abstracts and plans were being drawn up to ‘digitise’ some of the key content that was due to be shared at the event.

According to media reports about 20,000 soldiers are patrolling the streets, 200 people have been injured and 5,000 have been arrested as residents demand better education, healthcare and wages.

A hike in subway fares sparked the protests, which have seen flaming barricades and clashed with riot police following an apology and promises of economic reforms from President Sebastián Piñera.

Hundreds of international delegates were expected to attend the event, due to start on Tuesday,  and some had already arrived in the city when the decision to cancel was made on Sunday.

Chair of the Local Organizing Committee Gabriel Rada, posted a video on Youtube thanking members for their support and expressing solidarity with the people of Chile.

[embed]https://youtu.be/znaBH0N6v9c[/embed]

He said: “Even though it was an extremely painful decision, we are convinced it was the right one and taken at the right time. The safety of all delegates, both physical and emotional, and the empathy with the sad situation all Chileans are currently living have been the drivers of all the decisions made, even when there were many other things at stake.”

In a joint statement the LOC said: “The situation is fast-changing and we are uncertain as to how events will develop. We recommend that you stay close to your accommodation and seek the advice of local staff. We are sorry to have had to cancel our annual flagship event, and recognize the huge disappointment and inconvenience that this will cause. Nevertheless, we are convinced that for the safety and wellbeing of everyone this is the right decision.”

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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