Two church buildings had been torched as tens of hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Sunday in a central Santiago sq. to mark the anniversary of a protest motion that broke out final yr demanding larger equality in Chile.
The demonstration comes only a week earlier than Chileans vote in a referendum on whether or not to exchange the dictatorship-era structure, one of many key calls for when the protest motion started on October 18 final yr.
Whereas the morning introduced a largely festive environment to the protests at Plaza Italia, there have been a number of incidents of violence, looting and vandalism within the afternoon.
One church near Plaza Italia was burned to the bottom as hooded protesters cheered, whereas a second place of worship was looted and likewise suffered fireplace harm.
For Victor Hugo de la Fuente, a journalist and supervisor on the Chilean version of Le Monde Diplomatique, happiness reigned amongst protesters “resulting from the potential of progressing and reaching a fairer and extra democratic Chile”.
Demonstrators additionally referred to as for his or her countrymen to vote to “approve” the proposed constitutional change.
The federal government of President Sebastian Pinera, one of many protesters’ essential targets, referred to as on demonstrators to be peaceable and to respect coronavirus restrictions.
The epidemic has left 13,600 Chileans lifeless with greater than 491,000 contaminated.
Protests broke out a yr in the past initially as a response to a hike in metro fares, earlier than mushrooming right into a basic demonstration towards inequality and the federal government.