Street artist shooting sparks Chile riots

Denis Duettman
·1-min read

Riots have broken out in southern Chile, with protesters setting fire to at least 10 government buildings in the city of Panguipulli including the city hall, after a police officer allegedly fatally shot a street performer.

Video published by radio station Cooperativa showed the violence spreading.

Protesters also erected barricades and attacked a police station with stones.

Police responded with tear gas and water cannon.

The officer has been taken into custody, officials said later, urging cooperation with their investigation.

The violence broke out after the officer had a confrontation with a juggler, who seemingly refused to obey orders the officer was given.

According to reports, after the officer fired two warning shots at the ground, the young man rushed towards the officer, who then opened fire.

The juggler had three sabre-like objects in his hand, which he used during his show.

The unrest prompted the government of President Sebastian Pinera to call an emergency meeting on Saturday.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado, who convened his staff on Saturday to discuss the events, condemned the arson and promised justice would be served in the shooting.

The Carabineros - Chile's uniformed police - have repeatedly come under criticism for often brutal behaviour.

More than 30 people died and hundreds were injured during violent protests against the government in late 2019.

Human rights organisations called for criminal investigations against police leadership.