Santiago – Disturbances surrounding the commemoration of the 38th anniversary of "Chile's 9/11" - a bloody military coup that launched 17 years of repression - left more than 50 people hurt and resulted in 280 arrests, authorities said Monday.
More than 40 of those hurt are police, among them Sgt. Jose Soto Yañez, who sustained a serious eye injury from a hurled stone, and Lt. Cesar Muñoz Jara, who was hit by more than 40 shotgun pellets fired by masked protesters.
The deputy interior minister, Rodrigo Ubilla, said that the disturbances lasted into the wee hours of Monday in different parts of the capital, where a hospital and some 147,000 homes were without electric power due to blackouts caused by the demonstrators.
In the municipal capital of El Bosque, 15-year-old Javiera Molina Araya was hit in the torso by a bullet while he was protesting near a bonfire lighted on a street by a group of local residents.
The teenager was taken to the Barros Luco hospital in Santiago, where doctors reported Monday that his life is in danger.
Ubilla said that in Santiago there were 350 "foci of violence."
The official issued a call to all political and social sectors to condemn such violent protest activity.
He added that protesters burned about half a dozen vehicles, including a bus, in the disturbances during which they also set up burning street blockades, carried out some looting and launched attacks with gunfire and stones, among other incidents.
The violence came after a demonstration in which thousands of Chileans marched on Sunday to Santiago's General Cemetery to pay tribute to the victims of the dictatorship on the 38th anniversary of the coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power on Sept. 11, 1973.
When the march was over, groups of masked young people attacked the reporters covering the demonstration and clashed with police.
Gen. Augusto Pinochet's U.S.-endorsed rebellion against the Socialist administration of President Salvador Allende included aerial bombardment of the presidential palace and summary executions of government supporters.
The 1973-1990 regime is blamed for more than 3,000 deaths and upwards of 25,000 documented instances of torture.