The Viña del Mar International Song Festival, which is held every year in this municipality of the Chilean city of Valparaiso, began this Sunday amid violent demonstrations in the surroundings of the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater, home of the most important musical event on the American continent.
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Just minutes before Viña 2020 began, with the presentation of Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin on the Quinta Vergara stage, hundreds of people gathered in the Plaza Sucre in Viña del Mar to protest against the government of Sebastian Piñera.
The demonstration, that was part of the social upheaval that began in Chile last October, was repressed by the Carabineros, the police force that is part of the Forces of Order and Security of the Latin American country.
During the first day of the Festival, also a group of people threw objects at the Hotel O'Higgins, located in front of Plaza Latorre in Viña del Mar, near the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater.
"Massive protest at the opening of the Viña Festival. Shouts point to president @sebastianpinera who they equate with dictator Augusto Pinochet.
In 4 months of demonstrations +450 people have lost their eyes, +2000 people arrested and +5000 injured"
The windows and other structures on the hotel's façade were damaged, and most of the items thrown were reportedly fire extinguishers.
Due to the protests, two long-awaited competitions will not be held this Monday, the day which they were agreed, reported Channel 13 and TVN, signals that transmit the music festival in Chile.
"The protests that took place this Sunday caused that part of the team that was participating in the opening of the Viña del Mar Festival were unable to move to the Quinta Vergara at the scheduled times. For that reason, this number had to be suspended".
"The national singer Mon Laferte will be opening the second night of the 2020 Viña del Mar Festival"
Therefore, the musical performances participating in the folkloric and international category competitions "are rescheduled for the afternoon of Monday, February 24," the television networks said.
However, "the 15 thousand people who entered the Quinta Vergara this Sunday were able to enjoy the show in complete normality and under high-level security conditions," they added.
During the inauguration of the Viña del Mar Festival, which began despite the disturbances, Ricky Martin did not stand out for performing the repertoire of his great hits on the Quinta Vergara stage, but for his messages of support for the demonstrations that are shaking Chile.
The 61st edition of the event, which is being held from 23 to 28 February in Viña del Mar, will this year feature other internationally renowned artists, such as Mon Laferte, Ana Gabriel, Pablo Alborán, Maroon 5, Ozuna and Pimpernel.