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The Santiago Massacre was a massacre of civilians perpetrated by the Kuritan garrison stationed in Santiago City, Santiago, in 2572. The Massacre increased tensions which led ultimately to the outset of the Reunification War.
Earlier in 2572, First Lord of the Star League Director-General Ian Cameron issued Directive 21. The Directive gave Inner Sphere militaries the authority to "garrison" the undefended worlds of the Outworlds Alliance for "mutual defense and protection". Ostensibly, the directive was aimed at curbing pirate activity within the Alliance, but troops were never stationed near any known pirate activity. The actual purpose of the forces landed under Directive 21 was to attempt to neutralize the threat posed by the order of Outworlds Alliance President Grigori Avellar's decision to order the creation of the Outworlds Alliance Militia.
Despite frequent, peaceful demonstrations, the Seventeenth Galedon Regulars maintained their garrison around Santiago City on the Outworlds Alliance border world of Santiago. On December 14th, a MechWarrior within the Regulars retaliated against a mob of snow ball-throwing children, severely burning one with a thrown canister of coolant. The Combine warrior and his 'Mech quickly found themselves isolated from the rest of the lance as the crowd went wild, and when the 'Mech tripped and fell, crushing a number of civilians, attacks on the 'Mech escalated sharply. The panicked MechWarrior fired the Locust's weapons, leading to a final toll of twenty seven people killed and another thirty hospitalized.
The Santiago Massacre would have much steeper repercussions throughout the inhabited space. Within days, widespread rioting had begun throughout the Outworlds Alliance, and spread to other Periphery realms. Even political leaders were rash to react to the Massacre. Protector Mitchell Calderon immediately increased funding for the Taurian Defense Force, and the Magistracy of Canopus withdrew from border dispute talks with the Free Worlds League. To the inhabitants of the Periphery, the incident served to illustrate what the Star League really thought of them.
In addition to demonstrations across the Periphery, some protests occurred on Star League words as well, and both the Concordat and the Magistracy broke off diplomatic relations with the Star League for a time. The hue and cry over the Santiago Massacre not only embarrassed First Lord Ian Cameron; combined with the increasing demands of the Star League war with the Taurian Concordat bought the Outworlds Alliance time to increase its armed strength prior to the inevitable Star League invasion.
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 19, "Bloody Santiago"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, pp. 16-17
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 106, "Inevitable Hell"