December 8 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 30, 2013
An award-winning photojournalist’s images depicting the brave, determined resistance to Pinochet’s brutal regime in Chile will be on show for the rest of this week in an Amnesty International exhibition marking 40 years since the dictator’s bloody military coup.
The Amnesty International exhibition, Chile’s 9/11, documents Julio Etchart’s images.
The Uruguayan-born photographer, who lives in Filey Road, Stoke Newington, put his life on the line in the 1980s to document life under Pinochet, with leading UK and international newspapers publishing his images.
General Augusto Pinochet’s coup on September 11, 1973 signalled the beginning of a regime which committed horrific human rights abuses for 16 years and saw thousands of people illegally detained, tortured, killed or “disappeared”.
Having been a political prisoner himself in his homeland in the 1970s before seeking exile in the UK where he learned his trade, Mr Echart felt empathy for the Chilean people.
“In a way the international media had forgotten about Chile, you know what it’s like with compassion fatigue, but I felt it was important to show people were protesting against the regime,” he said.
“I was trying to capture the sheer determination and their bravery, the defiance.
“On International Women’s Day people were being shot with rubber bullets and tear gas, we see it a lot in the news now unfortunately with Egypt and Syria, but in those days we didn’t see many images like that.”
Chilean exiles in London advised Mr Echart, now 63, on infrastructure and passed on contacts in the country, where he had to pretend he was a tourist.
“I had to hide the fact I was a photographer, I didn’t carry a lot of equipment, just small film cameras,” he said.
“You were in danger all the time, other journalists were beat up at illegal detention centres and deported.”
The exhibition’s run has been extended to Monday, October 7, at Amnesty International UK’s Human Rights Action Centre in New Inn Yard, Shoreditch.