At least two churches in the center of Santiago de Chile were burned this Sunday after the massive demonstration that brought together tens of thousands of people to commemorate the first anniversary of the wave of protests, the most serious since the end of the military dictatorship.
The first sanctuary to burn was the San Francisco de Borja church, used regularly by the Carabineros police force for institutional ceremonies, and hours later it was the church of La Asunción, one of the oldest in the capital, more than a century and a half old.
Chileans, it is time to wake up.
The left wants to see your country burning and start everything from scratch.
Defend your country
For Chile , Vote Rejection! pic.twitter.com/tUC8dEJruC
– José Antonio Kast (@joseantoniokast) October 18, 2020
Both temples are in the vicinity of Plaza Italia, the epicenter of the so-called “social outbreak” and that this Sunday was the scene of one of the most massive concentrations so far this year.
In the vicinity of the roundabout, baptized by the protesters as “Plaza Dignidad”, several shops were also looted, including a supermarket of an international chain, and attacks by hooded men were also recorded on some police stations in the capital’s periphery, such as Puente Alto .
These incidents overshadowed a day that was spent mostly in a festive atmosphere with young people, social groups and entire families brandishing flags and banners in favor of greater social equality and chanting the phrase that has become the motto of the riots: “Chile woke up!”
The Carabineros corps, which unlike in other weeks was retracted most of the time, deployed a comprehensive security device, which included 40,000 agents throughout the country, as there were also concentrations in cities such as Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Antofagasta and Concepción.
The institution is in the spotlight for its harshness in the repression of the marches and various international organizations, such as the UN, have accused her of having committed human rights violations. According to the Public Ministry, there are more than 4,600 open cases against the security forces.
The rallies for the anniversary are held one week after more than 14.5 million Chileans decide in a historic plebiscite whether they want to replace the current Constitution, inherited from the dictatorship and seen as the origin of the inequalities that afflict the country.
The plebiscite, which was to be held in April but was postponed due to the pandemic, seeks to decompress the tension in a highly polarized country, which until last year was considered the most stable in Latin America.