SANTIAGO – Chile’s capital was rocked by violence last night. Buses and metro stations were hit with arson attacks, supermarkets were looted, police stations were swarmed, and one person was killed when he was run over by a stolen bus. According to police, it was the most violent night so far this year.
On Tuesday night, Jan. 29, after Colo-Colo faced Palestino in the Monumental Stadium in Santiago, 37-year-old Jorge Mora was run over by a police truck outside the stadium. He later died from his injuries.
His death outraged protesters in Chile who saw his death as yet another sign that police violence continues, despite numerous reports and recommendations from human rights organizations.
On Jan. 29, the day after Mora’s death, supporters left flowers and football shirts at the place where the colocolino died, and later the fans gathered at Plaza Italia to commemorate him and protest police oppression.
Later that night, protesters clashed with police in several parts of Santiago. Burning barricades caused traffic jams, with the heaviest clashes around the stadium where Mora died the night before.
#Chile | La reciente muerte de un aficionado del fútbol atropellado por un camión de la policía provocó violentas protestas en #Santiago que dejaron un muerto y varios heridos, reportó el gobierno y la policía pic.twitter.com/yDtyP3DoCe https://t.co/r2bXlekP6T
— Atlantide (@Atlantide4world) January 30, 2020
At least five Transantiago buses were also burned. One of those buses was taken by protesters. The driver then ran over a 22-year-old protester, who died later that night in Padre Hurtado Hospital. A furious mob then attacked the driver, who was also taken to a hospital with severe injuries.
Metro station San Pablo was also set on fire, and at least eight supermarkets and a gas station were looted in communes throughout Santiago.
According to police reports, 20 police stations in the capital were also attacked by protesters, who launched stones and Molotov cocktails at their buildings.
In the end, a 124 people were arrested, and the Chilean police say it was “the most violent night in Chile in 2020 so far.”
The protests and violence were not limited to Santiago. In Concepción, seven people were arrested amid clashes in the city center. In the city of Valparaíso, fans of football club Santiago Wanderers met with Colo-Colo for a commemoration march; the fans then clashed with police at Plaza Víctoria. Similar incidents were also registered in Puerto Montt, Rancagua, and Iquique.
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.