SANTIAGO DE CHILE (AP) – Chilean authorities on Saturday took stock of the most massive and violent demonstration in the center of Santiago since the beginning of the pandemic: burned public transport buses, attempted looting and damaged traffic lights. Authorities said there were about 1,500 attendees.
“Yesterday an important group of people demonstrated peacefully in the oval of Plaza Baquedano and a small group of no more than 300-400 people did so in a violent manner,” the mayor of Santiago, Felipe Guevara, told the media. Some people were carrying Molotov cocktails, he added.
“From a health point of view, yesterday was irresponsible: not keeping social distance, there were people without a mask. Obviously, it is an attack on public health ”, the mayor of Santiago valued. The police also thwarted looting attempts.
For several weeks, the traditional Friday demonstrations have resumed, which fill the central Plaza Italia (also called Plaza Baquedano) in Santiago since the social outbreak of last October 18 and that were interrupted by the arrival of the pandemic of the coronavirus in the country.
The movement has regained strength, with smaller demonstrations during the week, following the incident last week in which a policeman was accused of throwing a young man from a bridge over a river. The agent is being held in preventive detention awaiting trial. The young man was released from his injuries on Thursday.
The event stirred up the issue of police brutality in the country, following the serious human rights violations that occurred in Chile during last year’s repression of demonstrations demanding social improvements.