Chile prosecutor seeks to research claims of police torture of protesters

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By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda and Fabian Cambero

Demonstrators participate in a protest at Providencia, a rich neighborhood, in Santiago, Chile November 6, 2019. Information/Jorge silva

SANTIAGO (Information) – A Chilean prosecutor on Wednesday stated he would search court docket approval to research 14 cops for allegedly torturing protesters throughout nearly three weeks of intense unrest and rioting within the nation.

The protests over deep-seated inequalities in certainly one of Latin America’s richest nations have been much less violent in current days, however present few indicators of easing, with demonstrators gathering on Wednesday close to an enormous shopping center in certainly one of Santiago’s extra upscale neighborhoods.

Santiago East prosecutor Manuel Guerra stated his investigation was associated to 2 separate incidents throughout a nine-day state of emergency within the capital from Oct. 18.

One associated to the actions of 12 cops in Nunoa, a bohemian suburb of Santiago, the place protesters defied a curfew to conduct successive nights of huge however primarily peaceable demonstrations, a spokesman for Guerra informed Information, with out offering additional particulars.

The second associated to 2 officers within the lower-middle class space of La Florida who had been accused of beating a younger man who was handcuffed, the spokesman stated.

A police spokeswoman informed Information she didn’t know if the officers had been suspended and declined to remark additional.

Chile’s worst unrest because the finish of Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship has induced at the very least 23 deaths, greater than 7,000 detentions, and accidents to 1,659 protesters and 800 cops, in keeping with authorities and rights teams.

Prosecutors are investigating greater than 800 allegations of abuse, together with torture, rape and beatings by safety forces throughout demonstrations over inequality and the price of residing which have typically degenerated into riots.

Guerra’s spokesman stated he would request that the 14 cops beneath investigation for allegedly torturing protesters be detained whereas the circumstances had been investigated.

President Sebastian Pinera on Thursday promised that police and troopers discovered responsible of rights violations could be prosecuted with the identical power as rioters and looters.

“This president is dedicated to whole respect for human rights always and in all circumstances,” center-right Pinera stated from La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago.

“We’ll examine any extra, failure of protocol in the usage of power or extreme use of power,” Pinera stated.

He rejected criticism on social media that his ministers have solely visited injured police, not protesters, saying he would go to demonstrators within the coming days.

A group despatched by Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. human rights chief and former Chilean president, and one other from Amnesty Worldwide, had been additionally in Chile interviewing alleged victims.

PROTESTS, AGAIN

Chileans on social media referred to as for one more rally on Wednesday on the base of Latin America’s tallest constructing, the Costanera Heart, a mirror-glass 1000-foot (300-meter) tower on the coronary heart of so-called Sanhattan, Santiago’s enterprise district.

Outlets on the heart’s mall closed shortly after noon. Most protesters who arrived had been rapidly dispersed by police utilizing water cannons.

Masked vandals later looted a close-by espresso store, pharmacy, a grocery retailer and a number of other different small retailers, blockading a primary boulevard with a bonfire and bringing night site visitors to a standstill. Vandals additionally attacked the places of work of the right-wing Impartial Democratic Union (UDI) get together a number of blocks from the Costanera heart.

Evelyn Matthei, mayor of the upscale Providencia neighborhood, stated dozens of outlets had been broken or looted.

“We’re seeing a stage of violence and destruction that we’ve by no means seen earlier than,” she stated on Twitter.

Earlier within the day, the drivers of tractor trailer vans protesting highway tolls induced commuter chaos, blocking main highways that ring Santiago.

Drivers and passengers parked on the freeway bailed from their autos to play soccer in the midst of a significant regional freeway, tv photos confirmed.

Pinera, in the meantime, pushed ahead with reforms aimed toward taming the persevering with unrest.

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He despatched a regulation to parliament to ensure a minimal wage of $480 a month, a part of an formidable social spending plan introduced final month because the protests grew.

“We’re responding with motion and never simply good intentions to these issues that individuals have demanded with a lot power,” he stated in a televised speech.

Chile’s finance minister informed the congressional budgetary committee on Wednesday that the federal government would draw $600 million from its sovereign wealth fund to finance the social plan.

Reporting by Natalia Ramos, Fabian Cambero and Aislinn Laing; Writing by Aislinn Laing and Dave Sherwood; Modifying by Bernadette Baum and Rosalba O’Brien