Journalist shot and severely injured during Labor Day March

A reporter for local radio station Señal 3 La Victoria was severely injured on Sunday, May 1, when she was shot in the head while covering a march near Estación Central. Three others were injured during clashes between protesters and street vendors. So far, two suspects have been arrested.

A march in the center of Chile’s capital, Santiago, ended in severe clashes after protesters were attacked by street vendors in the Meiggs neighborhood. During the melee, a reporter was shot in the head and taken to a nearby hospital. Her employer, local radio station Señal 3 La Victoria, said she is currently fighting for her life.

The march, organized by the Central Clasista de Trabajadores to celebrate Labor Day, took place near the Meiggs neighborhood in Santiago’s Estación Central municipality. Thousands participated.

According to preliminary police reports, during the march, protesters started looting and were subsequently confronted by street vendors, several of whom were carrying firearms. Three people were wounded when they opened fire, among them Señal 3 La Victoria’s reporter, Francisca Sandoval, who was wearing a gas mask to protect herself against tear gas. The bullet that hit her entered through the glass of her mask.

Two suspects were detained. One is a Colombian man with a criminal record in Chile, the other in a Venezuelan immigrant who is currently residing illegally in the country. They were released on Monday and will be under house arrest. Authorities have filed a lawsuit against them and announced stricter measures against the armed gangs who are said to be dominating the public areas around Estación Central.

The national union for journalists has condemned the attack and called upon the authorities to do everything in their power to respect the right of free press and protect reporters during protests.

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