Chilean Protesters Set Churches Ablaze During Celebration Of Protest Movement Anniversary

LAGOS OCTOBER 19TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Two churches were torched as tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered Sunday in a central Santiago square to mark the anniversary of a protest movement that broke out last year demanding greater equality in Chile.

The demonstration comes just a week before Chileans vote in a referendum on whether to replace the dictatorship-era constitution — one of the key demands when the protest movement began on October 18, 2019.

While the morning brought a largely festive atmosphere to the protests at Plaza Italia, there were several incidents of violence, looting and vandalism in the afternoon.

One church close to Plaza Italia was burnt to the ground as hooded protesters cheered, while a second-place of worship was looted and also suffered fire damage.

Firefighters managed to get that blaze under control, though.

The small Church of the Assumption that was totally destroyed is known as the “artists’ parish,” according to local press.

There were clashes between groups of football hooligans in one Santiago neighbourhood, while protesters in Plaza Italia doused a statue with red paint.

The communist mayor of a neighbourhood near the central square, Daniel Jadue, was hounded out of Plaza Italia by protesters.

Yet it was a different feeling in the morning when demonstrators, many wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus pandemic, held up banners, sang and danced. Police even gradually pulled back from the Plaza Italia.

“It’s great, very good and positive. They’re pure good things for Chile in everything from here,” demonstrator Viviana Donoso, 43, told AFP as she and a group of people danced to drums.

“The people of Chile need to unite, and we have to believe that we can do things.”

Some even turned up to the demonstration in fancy dress.

– Hopes of a ‘fairer Chile’ –

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Posted by on Oct 19 2020. Filed under International, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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