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Chile: Churches set on fire on anniversary of protests. Tens of thousands of Chileans gathered in the central square of Santiago to mark the one-year anniversary of mass protests that left over 30 …More
Chile: Churches set on fire on anniversary of protests.

Tens of thousands of Chileans gathered in the central square of Santiago to mark the one-year anniversary of mass protests that left over 30 dead and thousands injured, with peaceful rallies on Sunday devolving by nightfall into riots and looting. People gathered early in the day in demonstrations downtown and in cities throughout Chile that gained size and fervor through the evening. Many touted signs and rainbow coloured homemade banners calling for a "yes" vote next Sunday in a referendum over whether to scrap the country's dictatorship-era Constitution, a key demand of the 2019 protests. The demonstrations, while largely peaceful early on, were marred by increasing incidents of violence, looting of supermarkets and clashes with police across the capital later in the day. Fire truck sirens, burning barricades on roadways and fireworks on downtown streets added to a sense of chaos in some neighbourhoods. "Those who carry out these acts of violence do not want Chileans to solve our problems through democratic means," Mr Perez told reporters, vowing to punish those who crossed the line on Sunday. Early in the day, an angry mob jeered and threatened a Communist Party mayor. Later, masked individuals firebombed a police headquarters and church. Vandals attacked another Santiago church in the early evening, setting its spire aflame and choking side streets with smoke.