Social Crisis

Super Lunes: Clashes Around Chilean Capital Mark New Month

SANTIAGO – An estimated 283 people were arrested last night on the first “Super Lunes” of March. Violence broke out across Santiago and the Metropolitan Region as police forces clashed with protesters. Two adolescents suffered eye injuries, one man was killed, and a 12-year-old girl suffered a bullet wound.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Plaza Italia last night for “Super Lunes” (“Super Monday”), a day of mass protests throughout Chile, but heavily focused in the Metropolitan region as students returned from summer vacations. Throughout the city, protesters created barricades in the streets causing widespread traffic chaos. The police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowds that were causing congestion. In Maipú, barricades prevented traffic in Avenida Pajaritos and Cinco de Abril, while the Grecia metro in Puente Alto suffered damage from arson attacks.

Transantiago suspended bus services after 10 p.m. throughout the Metropolitan region due to escalating violence. The Puente Alto metro station on Line 4 was first to close, followed by Universidad Católica, Las Mercedes, Las Rejas, Santa Lucía, Plaza Egaña, Parque Bustamante, and other stations on lines 1, 2, and 3. Authorities reported further damage to traffic lights, bringing the number of affected crossings to 122 in the capital.

Santiago Violence

Firefighters were called to Plaza Italia in the early evening after an old building belonging to the Ministry of Housing was set on fire for the second time in recent months. The situation escalated in Plaza Italia when a man was run over by a police vehicle on the corner of Ramón Corvalán and Vicuña Mackenna. The driver claimed that his vision was obscured after his vehicle was attacked with stones and a Molotov cocktail, which is why he did not see the man.

In San Joaquín, a 12-year-old girl suffered a bullet wound to the thigh while walking to a bus stop close to the police station where protesters were gathered. It is unclear from which direction the bullet was fired. The girl was taken to a hospital and is now stable although with a serious wound.

In Maipú, a man died from his injuries after being hit by a Transantiago bus. A 16-year old in Puente Alto also suffered a face wound just two centimeters from his right eye.

Police reported more than 100 people gathered in Alameda and Las Rejas at 9 p.m. in a large cacerolazo (a peaceful protest where people bang on pots and pans to make noise). Fires set in the road also prevented traffic in both directions. Meanwhile, people also looted the Espacio Urbano commercial center, as well as four other local shops. Police ultimately used tear gas to disperse the crowd and to allow the traffic to move again.

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Chilean Army Gets Prepared for Protests in March

Countrywide Chaos

From Arica to Punta Arenas, protests erupted into violence across the country. In Valparaíso, protesters from the Education Workers Union marched through the city, throwing rocks at armed forces who responded with tear gas. There was widespread disruption to traffic, especially in Avenida Brasil.

Police reported 20 arrests in Antofagasta following violent protesting. The majority of those arrested were reportedly students. Two people aged 18 and 17 suffered eye injuries, although it is unclear how. Many others were also wounded. Protesters also created barricades in the streets, vandalized a hotel in the city center, and looted various shops.

In Concepción, police responded with their batons and firearms after they came under attack from protesters, and nine people were arrested. A protest march began in Plaza de Los Tribunales and continued towards Intendencia Regional, where people created barricades in the streets and damaged the Intendencia. Vandals also entered the main shopping center, damaged the building and looted its shops. Robert Conteras, Governor of Concepción, criticized the situation after a woman was run over by a bus on the Riviera Biobío line, suggesting that the accident was a result of diverted traffic from the center due to the protests.

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