Chile Bracing for Fresh Unrest on Anniversary of Police Shooting Death

Chile braced for another day of intense protests on Thursday, with demonstrators gathering around the country to mark one year since a young indigenous man was shot dead by police in circumstances that are still under investigation.According to fliers circulating on social media, 18 protests are planned for urban centers around Chile in the late afternoon, with more planned outside Chilean embassies abroad.The father of Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche man from the southern Araucania region which has long been in conflict with the state, appealed to people to demonstrate “calmly.””We don’t want to mourn the death of any young person, whether Mapuche or from elsewhere, because for us it would be to relive the pain again,” he told local radio station Cooperativa.Camilo Catrillanca, the grandson of an indigenous leader, was shot in the head in November 2018 in a police operation in a rural community near the town of Ercilla, 480 miles (772 km) south of Santiago.The incident — and subsequent accusations of cover-up — triggered huge protests throughout Chile. Four police offers are due to go on trial on charges of homicide and obstruction of justice later this month.Thursday’s planned protests follow on from four weeks of intense unrest that started over a hike in public transport fares but have broadened to encompass grievances over low wages, the high cost of living and social inequality.President Sebastian Pinera announced a state of emergency as violent riots took hold, then a costly new social plan. He reshuffled his government and appealed for Chileans to subscribe to national accords around justice, equality and peace.Yet still, the protests continue, so far leaving 24 people dead, more than 7,000 arrested, 2,800 police and civilians injured and millions of dollars of damage done to property in looting and arson attacks, according to the government and rights group.The police have come under fire for their handling of the demonstrations, with medical experts saying that more than 200 protesters have suffered eye injuries or been blinded by tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. This week, the police chief said he would fit firearms officers with surveillance cameras and deploy more human rights experts.Ana Piquer, the executive director of Amnesty International Chile, said Pinera should respond to the many complaints of police excesses.”We don’t want to see any more victims of police violence anywhere in Chile, killed or seriously injured simply for raising their voice on social demands,” she said.Kattya Barrera, 19, a resident of Santiago’s low-income La Florida neighborhood preparing to join Thursday’s protests, said she believed nothing had changed since Catrillanca’s death.”When someone goes out to demonstrate, they take out their eyes,” she said. “Today isn’t just about Catrillanca, it’s for everyone.”

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