- BBC News World
Chile lived on Monday the second anniversary of the social outbreak of October 18, 2019, when a wave of street protests led to the call for a constituent process in which the South American country is still immersed.
More than fifty marches were called in different parts of the Chilean geography to commemorate the two years since the protests began.
Although most took place peacefully, there were some episodes of violence. At the end of the day, the Minister of the Interior, Rodrigo Delgado, reported 30 people arrested and five Carabineros officials injured in the incidents.
“We are not in the presence of protesters, we are in the presence of some criminals, and I mean those who go and use these dates to commit crimes,” said the minister.
The main candidates for the presidency of Chile, which celebrates the first round of its elections on November 21, also showed their rejection of violence, although with a different tone.
One of the main points of concentration was the Plaza Baquedano in Santiago de Chile, which was one of the epicenters of the outrage two years ago.
Near the Palacio de la Moneda there were clashes between the security forces and some protesters.
Fabiola Campilla, who lost her vision due to the effect of a tear gas canister during the 2019 protests and became one of its best-known faces, was one of those who manifested on the second anniversary.
In anticipation of incidents, some municipalities in the metropolitan region decided to remove some elements of urban furniture and the government had ordered the deployment of more than 5,000 police officers in areas considered at risk.
The marches and incidents forced the temporary closure of 10 Santiago metro stations.
By late afternoon, some public transport stops had been attacked and some had been set on fire.
The Carabineros de Chile reported that looting attempts had been detected in commercial premises of the capital.
The undersecretary of the Interior, Juan Francisco Galli, affirmed that the agents would act against the violent ones.
“Carabineros proceeds against looting in the center of Santiago. There is no legitimate demonstration in looting, burning public or private property or launching fireworks at people or police,” he said.
The incidents this Monday add to the tension that is being experienced in the Araucanía and Biobío region, where the government decreed a state of emergency on October 12 in response to what President Piñera described as “serious and repeated acts of violence linked to drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime committed by armed groups. ”
La Araucanía is the region where the majority of the Mapuche indigenous people live, who have staged protests over what they consider to be the unjust expropriation of their ancestral lands.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.