Chile Remembers 9-11

Violence continues on the 33rd anniversary of the military coup lead by Pinochet in Chile.  Many Chileans resent the gradual return to democracy that left military perpetrators of torture and assassination free and wealthy (including Pinochet, who was again stripped of his immunity from human rights abuse charges on September 8), while many Chileans mourn 3,000 detained and disappeared citizens and many more exiled.  The poverty rate in Chile has fallen to 20%, but the majority of wealth remains in the hands of few. 
Chile’s Deputy Interior Minister
Felipe Harboe said violent demonstrators attacked the presidential palace and the police with Molotov cocktails and stones on Sunday, September 10.  Protesters barricaded streets with burning tires, and several fast-food restaurants, bus stops and telephone booths were destroyed.  Harboe criticized the protestors as violent people who were born under the democracy and who he said took advantage of the remembrance of the coup and other occasions with political underpinnings to cause unrest and damage, an action that must be condemned by all sectors of society. 

Late at night on September 11, the actual anniversary of the coup, more violence occurred, leading to at least 237 detentions, 10 civilians and 78 police wounded.  One policeman received a pellet shot in the right eye, and is in grave condition.   In 2005, 39 people were reported wounded.  The most severe civilian wounds were received by Tiare Araya, a six year old girl was shot in the head by a stray bullet while she watched the protest from a bridge.  Constanza León, age 17 was shot in the arm, and Iván Rosales, a camera man for Channel 13 was also treated for pellet wounds.  A school was destroyed, as well as bank office, by fires started by Molotov cocktails.  A water cannon truck was burned by Molotov Cocktails, a car was reported burned, as well as a detention center sacked.  Electricity was cut, resulting in loss of power to 250,000 customers of Chilectra. 

By Tuesday, September 12, 157 of 456 total people detained during the protests of Monday and Tuesday had been formally arrested, though only two are being held in jail.  The majority of those detained were minors,

One, Osvaldo Molina Silva (22), a university student of public administration was detained while throwing stones at the "casa de studios" and was named by the DA as an "instigator" or "leader" of that protest. Molina has a past record for violent participation in protests, and his detention was extended in order to formalize charges.   The other protester still detained is Luis Andrés Muñoz Lara (31), who was arrested by police with four Molotov cocktails.  Muñoz was held due to a pending robbery case against him.

Television station Channel 13 showed footage of protesters with arms that some claim might have been automatic weapons.  Coronel Gastón Sanzana also claimed to have heard automatic weapons, but police confirmed that protesters had only pistols and sawed-off shotguns.

According to the conservative newspaper, El Mercurio, conflicts also broke out between anarchist and communist youth organizations at a ceremony honoring the victims of the dictatorship at the General Cemetery.  Violence erupted when an anarchist protester threw stones at police and was violently rebuked by a communist protester, which then provoked more violence from the members of the anarchist organization.  The head of the Communist party blamed "infiltrators."