Monday, October 19, 2020

Chilean Protesters Burn Churches, Loot Stores Ahead of Constitutional Referendum

 Thousands of people gathered in Santiago on anniversary of last year’s antigovernment demonstrations.

The interior of San Francisco de Borja church in Santiago, Chile, ablaze Sunday. Photo: Esteban Felix/Associated Press

Ryan Dube
Wall Street Journal

Protesters in Chile’s capital torched two churches, looted stores and clashed with police in a spasm of violence a week before a referendum on whether to ditch a dictatorship-era constitution.

Television images from Santiago on Sunday showed masked protesters filming with their smartphones and cheering as the spire of the burning La Asunción church crashed to the ground. Demonstrators also set fire to San Francisco Borja church, which dates from the mid-19th century.

The city’s archbishop and the government of President Sebastián Piñera condemned the attacks, which also included the looting of a supermarket and other stores.

“This is an expression of brutality,” said Interior Minister Víctor Pérez, who added that police were deployed to protect Santiago’s subway, a frequent target of vandalism. “Today we must lament the violent acts, but we will confront them.”  Read more >>