SANTIAGO DE CHILE - Hundreds of people marched through the main pedestrian street of the Chilean capital Monday, to support the residents of the island of Chiloe, southern Chile, where local fishermen protest the government's failure to tackle the effects of red tide, which prevents them from fishing.
The protesters want the government of Michelle Bachelet to "take the demands of the island into consideration."
The fishermen of Chiloe have been protesting for eight days because of the red tide, a naturally occurring algal bloom which turns sea water red, which prevents them from fishing and because they are not satisfied with the financial assistance that the government promised them.
Seafood contaminated by this natural phenomenon is harmful to human health and can cause paralysis and even death. Since 1972 the ingestion of seafood contaminated by red tide has killed 23 people in Chile.
80 percent of the population of Chiloe make a living fishing and selling seafood products, which is the reason why red tide significantly affects their local economy.
The march, which was led mostly by university students, was suppressed by police with water cannons. There were no reports of detainees.
During the day other demonstrations were held in the Chilean cities of Valparaiso, Temuco, Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Montt and Chiloe itself.