SANTIAGO – In various cities across the country, disturbances were reported the night after Chile’s lower house of Congress approved the withdrawal of 10 percent of pension funds. In Peñalolen, a large group of people confronted riot police with stones and Molotov cocktails. This after Santiago experienced numerous similar incidents the night before the vote on the pension bill.
Yesterday’s approval of the pension bill by Chile’s lower house of Congress was celebrated with cacerolazos and honking horns yesterday afternoon. The mood turned later in the evening and disturbances were reported in different parts of the Chilean capital and in other cities across the country.
In Peñalolen and the neighborhood of Villa Francia in Estación Central, an especially large number of incidents was reported; and, according to police reports, 17 people in Peñalolen were arrested after hundreds clashed with officers present, throwing stones, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at the police, and injuring one officer. In Villa Francia, a neighborhood in Estación Central, known for its social cohesion, four people were arrested after a warehouse was set on fire with a Molotov cocktail.
— Felipe Cofré (@_felipecofre) July 16, 2020
In Valparaíso, burning barricades were put up, and on one of its hills, a protester was hit by a stray bullet. The protester was taken to the hospital and police officers are investigated the origins of the bullet. In neighboring city Viña del Mar similar incidents occurred.
At least 30 people were arrested in the southern city of Concepción and surrounding towns. In Concepción, several roads were blocked with burning barricades; in the coastal cities of Talcahuano and Hualpén, port workers clashed with police; and, in Coronel, special forces were deployed to stop riots.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.