When you hear this recording from Valdivia, Chile by Mark Wilden, you can hear a tiny, thin spitting noise, like rain on a car roof – but this sound has a much greater significance once you read Mark’s description of the protest he witnessed:
“Here’s a sound from this week’s student protest in Valdivia, southern Chile. It’s a port and university town just inland from the Pacific coast.
“We were trying to get onto the university campus to visit the botanic gardens, but the road was blocked off by police; on taking a detour we saw from 100-200m away a disorganised crowd of students, some with faces covered, throwing occasional rocks at police vehicles which seemed to be retreating.
“Soon afterwards, police reinforcements came and were bombarded with more rocks; as I was recording the police fired a water cannon at the students. It would have felt rather exposed to get the Zoom recorder so this was recorded from some distance on the iPhone microphone, which isn’t ideal, but you can nevertheless hear the pings of rocks hitting the armoured car.
“After the recording finished the police fired gas canisters at the protesters, some of which were kicked back, and at that point we left before it escalated further.
“I discovered later that one student was “gravely injured” on being hit by a CS gas canister. Apparently there was a national day of protest against education reform on the next day (I think the protests were in favour of free education), at which 100+ arrests were made, including bystanders with no connection to the protests.”
The sound was tackled by Lezak Shallat, who writes:
“Stone-throwing students battling police at the entrance to the Isla Teja campus of the Universidad Austral in Valdivia in May 2017. In the field recording by Mark Baldwin, you can hear the percussive “ping” of projectiles hitting the armoured police vehicles.
“Additional police arrive and prepare to respond with tear gas and water cannons.
“In this reimagining, a reporter at the scene from Radio Bio-Bio describes the confrontation and a student explains the protesters’ demands for a university system that is free, public, and high-quality.
“The music woven into the piece is the National Anthem of Terror, performed by the Free, Public, and Quality Orchestra of Catholic University students.
“The words to this parody of the Chilean national anthem are:
Pure Chile, you country of terror
where segregation reigns.
Your commercialized sons,
separated by repression,
behold the majestic robbery of your mountains,
forests, and oceans.
May your unperturbed rich be the crown
of the arts, industry, and law.
in exchange for the votes
with which Chile sold off its future.
May the shouts of all liberate us
from granting asylum to the oppressor.
And marching with the people’s voice,
make the tyrant tremble
make the tyrant tremble
make the tyrant tremble.”