SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Riots broke out in parts of Santiago overnight and lingered into Thursday after a police truck ran over and killed a soccer fan earlier this week, marking the most violent protests since unrest broke out late last year, authorities said.
Protesters attacked more than 20 police stations through the night and early morning, shouting in rage, throwing Molotov cocktails and lighting some on fire, leaving one dead and 46 police injured, according to official reports.
Several Santiago metro stations and bus lines were shut down overnight, though most had reopened in the early hours Thursday.
“Without a doubt, this was the most violent day of 2020,” regional police chief Enrique Bassaletti told reporters early Thursday, warning that it harkened back to the “worst moments” of the previous October.
Chile’s police force, known as the Carabineros, came under fire after protests in Chile broke out in late October last year. Several human rights groups accuse security forces of violations from rape to torture and undue force.
The 2019 protests, the most violent since the country’s return to democracy in 1990, plunged Santiago and much of Chile into chaos. Vandals burned downtown buildings, rioters looted hundreds of grocery stores and military tanks took to the streets for the first time since the dictatorship of strongman Augusto Pinochet.
Anger erupted again in Santiago earlier this week when a police truck allegedly ran over and killed a fan of local soccer team Colo-Colo as he left a stadium following an evening match.
Police arrested the driver of the truck and said they are investigating the incident.
Fellow soccer fans called for a mass protest this Friday evening in a central Santiago square to commemorate the death.
Though violence had largely subsided in recent weeks, scattered incidents across Santiago and Chile point to lingering tensions.
(Reporting by Natalia Ramos and Dave Sherwood; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)