Wave Of Illegal Concerts Sweeps South America


April 7, 2021

Police in Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and Argentina have made arrests following a number of unlawful, non-Covid-secure events held over the Easter weekend

Thousands of South Americans attended illegal, non-socially distanced concerts and parties over the Easter weekend, with authorities making arrests across the continent as national governments continue to battle the coronavirus with varying degrees of success.

South America remains a hotspot for Covid-19 – with high mortality rates in Brazil, Peru, Chile and Paraguay of particular cause for concern – though the recent unlicensed live events suggest some people are beginning to chafe under ongoing restrictions on indoor gatherings.

In the town of Turuku, in Ecuador’s northern Imbabura province, local government officials, national police and the armed forces shut down an unlicensed music festival, Killary Fest, which would have been attended by an estimated 5,000 people.

Despite dismantling the stage and confiscating much of Killary Fest’s equipment, including speakers, authorities returned on the evening of Friday 2 April to “learn that, despite the warnings, the party was starting”, reports El Comercio. When they again moved to shut down the event, police and soldiers were pelted with sticks and stones by revellers.

The incident follows months of parties, concerts and other unlawful events in Ecuador, reports El Comercio.

In Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in Chile, a local election candidate is being held by police after organising a concert in a former hospital, attended by around 100 people.

In addition to not seeking permission for the event, Juan Pablo Martinez – who is standing in upcoming city council elections – failed to enforce mandatory social distancing and mask wearing at the clandestine concert, according to prosecutor Rina Blanco.

The show “endangered public health, given the number of people in close contact, and who he invited,” Blanco comments.

A music venue in Morón, near Buenos Aires in Argentina, has been shut down for 30 days after video emerged of cumbia singer Pablo Lescano playing to a non-socially distanced audience.

The event, which many have dubbed “el recital covid” (the Covid concert), was harshly criticised by the mayor of Morón, Lucas Ghi, who says organiser Vaprisana “worship[s] mischief, deception and the violation in rules” – comparing the club unfavourably to the honest businesspeople of the city, who “adhere to the norms and protocols required by the pandemic”.

Brazilian police also continue to target illegal parties, which are being blamed for the surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths in South America’s most populous country.

The most recent brought together around 100 people – half of whom were caught not wearing face masks – in the city of Sao Paolo last weekend. According to local press, the three organisers were arrested, while the venue was fined R$190,000 (€28,000).

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