Chileans took to the streets of Santiago Friday, October 16, to vent anger over inequality and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s government, trading Molotov cocktails and rocks with tear gas and water cannons used by police.
Dramatic images showed a police vehicle bursting into flames after a protester lobbed a molotov cocktail, and police vehicles attempting to disperse the crowds with tear gas and water cannons.
Chile is nearly one year on from the start of mass protests that saw tens of thousands of Chileans take to the streets. The protests were sparked by a hike in metro fees, but they spread to encompass pent-up grievances over income inequality and soaring living costs.
The protests so far have left at least 31 dead, about 30,000 have been detained, and some 3,000 demonstrators and police officers have been injured, according to authorities and rights groups.
Analysts fear that the anniversary of the 2019 protests will unleash a new wave of unrest that came to a halt in March due to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
A new constitution was a central demand that emerged from the months of protests and Chileans are expected to vote on a new constitution in a referendum later in October.
Voice of America – English