Chilean Students Protest Police Killing

Hundreds on university students in Concepción rallied in the city’s center Tuesday to protest the police shooting of forestry worker Rodrigo Cisternas.

The students, some of whom looted small stores, are demanding the resignation of Region VIII Police Chief Gen. Jaime Vasconcellos. A Molotov cocktail was also reported to be thrown at police.

Thousand of workers of Bosques Arauco, a subdivision of pulp-processor Celulosa Arauco (Celco), had been on strike since last Monday demanding a pay raise and more freedom to organize. A roadblock last Thursday provoked a confrontation with police and Cisternas was shot after allegedly driving a tractor at police vehicles.

"No labor conflict can or should justify violence or death," said Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet. "Both sides must use mechanisms based on the law."

Chile’s Central Workers Union (CUT) condemned the killing, while Chile’s Labor Minister Osvaldo Andrade defelected the criticism by suggesting the disorder may have justified it.