The fall of a protester into a river channel, allegedly pushed by a policeman, during a protest on Friday night, has shocked Chile and unleashed a new wave of criticism against Carabineros (militarized police) for the repression during the demonstrations.
The independent National Institute of Human Rights (INDH), which has monitored the social outbreak since it began in October 2019, assured that the young man is stable and asked the Carabineros to “clarify the situation.”
Images recorded by a television channel show how the young man falls into a river channel with hardly any water flow after being thrown over the railing of a bridge at the hands, allegedly, of a police officer. during a demonstration in the capital Plaza Italia.
The institution of Carabineros, which initially dhe “flatly” lied to the images, acknowledged the participation of a policeman who is already “clearly identified,” and according to General Enrique Monrás, the images recorded by the body video cameras carried by the agents will be consulted.
The facts are being investigated by the Public Ministry, as confirmed by the manager of the Victims Division of the Prosecutor’s Office, Erika Maira.
The Children’s Ombudsman, an autonomous entity that ensures the protection of minors, assured that will sue for crimes attempted murder against the agent involved and requested that more evidence be collected.
The carabinieri have 20 people arrested in the framework of a demonstration that has developed in this square due to disorder. In it, a hundred people have gathered around the monument of General Manuel Baquedano.
The agent has already been arrested
The policeman who pushed a 16-year-old protester into the Mapocho river in Santiago de Chile has been arrested this Saturday for being involved in a possible crime of attempted murder.
The Chilean Prosecutor’s Office has established that “there is background of your responsibility in the facts“And the case is being investigated by the Police Human Rights Brigade. Carabineros has also indicated that the cameras carried by the agents are being reviewed.
The agent involved acknowledged the fact and had been assigned to perform administrative functions, as reported by the Chilean newspaper Third.
New wave of criticism against Police
This episode revived criticism against police authorities, which since the beginning of the social outbreak in Chile, in October 2019, have been strongly questioned for their actions when repressing the protests.
“In these images there is no room for political positions. The institutional use of force implies responsibility“, said the official deputy, Ximena Ossandón, on her Twitter account.
Carabineros and the @Government of Chile they should be the first interested in getting to the truth about what happened with Anthony.
There are thousands of police officers who work with a great social vocation and patriotism, but people usually put them in the same bag when there are events that go unpunished. pic.twitter.com/OPJyd7vP7e
– Ximena Ossandón (@nonaossandon) October 4, 2020
The Minister of the Interior, Víctor Pérez, has appealed to “do not anticipate judgments” while investigations into what happened are ongoing.
“Investigations have to be clear about whether protocols were followed or not of police officers, if the facts constitute a crime or not. It is the Public Ministry and the courts of Justice that must arrive in this matter, “Pérez added.
The seriousness of the events led an opposition group to request, once again, the resignation of the questioned CEO de Carabineros, Mario Rozas, who has also been the target of criticism through social networks.
“Under his mandate they have violated human rights of protesters in our country, from the social outbreak to date, “said Raúl Soto, a deputy for the opposition Party for Democracy (PPD).
Rozas, the highest authority of the police institution, has categorically rejected on several occasions the possible police excesses committed by some police officers.
Since the beginning of the social outbreak in Chile, the police force has been in the spotlight and has been accused by international organizations such as the UN, Amnesty International (AI) or Human Right Watch (HRW) for using excessive force and committing serious human rights violations in the marches.
Chile is experiencing the most serious social crisis since end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), which began in 2019 as a protest against the rise in the price of the subway ticket and became a revolt for a fairer economic model.
The riots have left more than thirty dead, thousands of injured and detained, in addition to episodes of extreme violence with fires, looting and destruction of public furniture.