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Reporter among those wounded during demonstrations in Chile

Monday, May 2nd 2022 - 09:34 UTC
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At least three people were injured by gunfire, including a journalist from Señal 3 La Victoria At least three people were injured by gunfire, including a journalist from Señal 3 La Victoria

A TV reporter was among the three people wounded in Santiago during incidents involving law enforcement officers (Carabineros), armed street merchants, and hooded looters during a Labor Day demonstration by unionist groups.

Undersecretary of the Interior Manuel Monsalve regretted the violent acts “especially on a date like International Workers' Day where there are mobilizations that are legitimate and natural.”

At least three people were injured by gunfire, including a journalist from Señal 3 La Victoria, and two others were detained in Santiago, according to unconfirmed media reports.

A march was staged Sunday by the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) and almost at the same time, another march took place in Santiago, which was coordinated by the Central Clasista de Trabajadores.

The CUT march went smoothly, but the one by the Central Clasista was strongly repressed by Carabineros, BioBio Chile reported.

President Gabriel Boric Font said Sunday during a meeting with CUT leaders that “our commitment as a government [is] to strengthen a joint agenda of decent work with historic agreements that advance in improving working conditions in our country.”

Carabineros have confirmed that a woman remained hospitalized in a critical condition after being shot amid the incidents in the Meiggs neighborhood, on the border of the communes of Santiago and Estación Central.

The woman is a journalist of Señal 3 La Victoria, who was covering the Workers' Day march organized by the Central Clasista de Trabajadores. The march was held in parallel to the demonstration called by the CUT. She was wearing a gas mask which was pierced by the shot.

Lieutenant Colonel Juan Morales, from Santiago's 3rd Police Station, explained everything had happened in the middle of incidents and looting carried out by hooded assailants when street merchants appeared on the scene with firearms. There is also a fourth wounded person who was hit by a stone.

The perpetrators were recorded by security cameras and arrested afterward. They are two foreigners, of Colombian and Venezuelan nationality. One of them has a criminal record in Chile and the other is presumed to have an irregular migratory situation.

Morales also said that the march carried out by the Central Clasista de Trabajadores had a permit from the Metropolitan Presidential Delegation.

The Government will file a lawsuit for what happened. This was stated by Constanza Martinez, the Presidential Delegate for the Metropolitan Region. Martinez expressed her solidarity with the victims and added that the legal action intends that the act does not go unpunished. She also announced that work will be reinforced to dismantle the gangs that work in the sector for street commerce.

Estación Central Mayor Felipe Muñoz insisted tougher measures were required to combat armed street vendors, who outpower local city halls. “None of these people have permits to sell on public roads,” he added. Santiago Mayor Irací Hassler stressed that both municipalities will bring their own legal actions to prosecute those responsible. Hassler also called for a state-wide fight against street trade and pointed out that Sunday's incident highlighted the need to legislate on arms control.

According to Víctor Ruiz, head of the Metropolitan Homicide Squad, the two people arrested were street merchants who confronted demonstrators in the Meiggs sector, the border area between Santiago and Estación Central. Ruiz explained that a total of three people were injured by bullets and a fourth by a blunt object. Detectives were trying to confirm whether the detainees were the ones who fired the shots that wounded these people. For the time being, the suspects are being held for the crime of unjustified shooting.

Other reports also said some blank ammunition had been retrieved, which could have in no way caused the injuries under investigation.

Categories: Politics, Chile.

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