Chilean Catholic church looted by vandals as protests rage | World

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Hooded protesters looted a Roman Catholic church Friday close to the primary gathering website for 3 weeks of mass protests towards Chile’s authorities over inequality.

An Related Press photographer witnessed individuals dragging church pews, statues of Jesus and different non secular iconography from La Asuncion church onto the road and setting them on hearth. Ashes unfold to Santiago’s Plaza Italia sq. the place hundreds had been chanting and holding banners, whereas others turned on the lights on their cellphones and waved Chilean nationwide flags.

Smoke additionally billowed from the close by headquarters of Pedro de Valdivia College, although it wasn’t identified if protesters began the fireplace. Authorities stated they had been nonetheless investigating the trigger.

A lot of the protests over the previous 22 days have been peaceable, however some have turned violent. Some rock-throwing demonstrators have been clashing with riot police, who reply with tear fuel and water cannons.

The unrest started final month over a subway fare hike with college students leaping turnstiles in protest. Demonstrations then erupted into clashes, looting and arson and the motion unfold nationwide with a broad vary of calls for, together with enhancements in schooling, well being care and a extensively criticized pension system in considered one of Latin America’s richest, however most socially unequal international locations.

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“We nonetheless have not achieved something, so we’ll hold protesting,” stated 17-year-old scholar Ginette Pérez, who joined the crowds flooding the streets Friday.

At the very least 20 individuals have died and an estimated 2,500 have been injured within the protests, which additionally compelled the cancellation of two main worldwide summits in Santiago.

Related Press author Patricia Luna contributed to this report.

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