Viral video 'Abort Chile' sparks controversy days before vote on new constitution

FILE PHOTO: A citizen receives a copy of the proposed new Chilean constitution in Santiago
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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A week before Chileans vote on a proposed constitution that promises sweeping changes to the Andean country's institutions, a controversial performance arguing for its passage went viral on Sunday, offering ammunition to opponents and causing headaches for supporters.

In an event promoting the new constitution in the port city of Valparaiso, a group known as The Undetectables put on a performance dubbed "Abort Chile," featuring nudity and a jarring allusion to abortion involving a Chilean flag.

"Aborting Chile means aborting what they taught us," one of the participants says in a video of the performance that circulated on social media.

Both opponents and supporters of the proposed charter, which seeks to replace the one inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, condemned the action and even announced legal action.

"I just saw a video of how they put the Chilean flag in a certain part (of the body) at an Approve event in Valparaiso," tweeted Senator Matias Walker, an opponent of the draft constitution.

The official Approve campaign condemned the performance in a statement, describing it as "absolutely distant from the values that represent Approve."

The performance could face legal consequences. The Undetectables did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent through the group's Instagram account.

Government spokesperson Camila Vallejo said that both the ombudsman and the government undersecretary for children had filed lawsuits with the public prosecutor's office, and that other types of measures would be evaluated.

"I think everything has a limit," Vallejo said in a local television interview.

"Public space belongs to everyone and because of that we have to protect it ... that (performance) did not respect everyone who was there, including children."

Although the idea of drafting a new constitution was overwhelmingly supported in a referendum at the end of 2020, several controversies over the impact of the draft's content have reduced support.

The latest published polls showed an advantage for the option of rejecting the proposal.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)