Chile’s 9-11 toll: 1 dead officer, 255 arrests
Sep 12, 2012, 8:25 PM
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – A long night of violence marking the anniversary of Chile’s 1973 coup ended with unsettling results Wednesday: one officer dead and 26 wounded, and 255 people arrested, including 83 children.
Five public buses were set on fire to make barricades in the streets of the capital and more than 400 others sustained broken windows and other damage, prompting the transportation agency to cancel service for more than a million people.
There was widespread looting through the night, and at least 58,000 homes were left without power after hooded protesters threw metal chains onto power lines in at least 12 of Santiago’s 35 districts, the electricity company said.
The protests marked the Sept. 11, 1973, coup that began Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s long dictatorship.
Metropolitan Police Chief Luis Valdes said 27-year-old police officer Cristian Martinez was shot to death trying to stop the looting of a supermarket.
President Sebastian Pinera said his government will do all it can to identify those responsible for the killing of Martinez, the father of a 3-week-old baby.
The officer died “defending our lives, our security, our tranquility,” Pinera said.
A 17-year-old who witnesses said fired a gun in the area was arrested, and a .38-caliber revolver was recovered, but he denied responsibility. The fatal bullet entered through an opening in the officer’s protective vest.
Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla said the number of arrests had declined from previous years, but violence had intensified, with firearms being used more than ever. There was “a greater number of gunshots, of weapons, and we’re also concerned about seeing a greater number of young people in the streets,” Ubilla said.
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