Molotov Cocktails, Tear Gas and Water Cannons Mark Violent Chile Protest
Chileans took to the streets of Santiago Friday, October 16, to vent anger over inequality and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's government, trading Molotov cocktails and rocks with tear gas and water cannons used by police.
Dramatic images showed a police vehicle bursting into flames after a protester lobbed a molotov cocktail, and police vehicles attempting to disperse the crowds with tear gas and water cannons.
Chile is nearly one year on from the start of mass protests that saw tens of thousands of Chileans take to the streets. The protests were sparked by a hike in metro fees, but they spread to encompass pent-up grievances over income inequality and soaring living costs.
The protests so far have left at least 31 dead, about 30,000 have been detained, and some 3,000 demonstrators and police officers have been injured, according to authorities and rights groups.
Analysts fear that the anniversary of the 2019 protests will unleash a new wave of unrest that came to a halt in March due to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
A new constitution was a central demand that emerged from the months of protests and Chileans are expected to vote on a new constitution in a referendum later in October.
Police fired tear gas for a third night Tuesday to disperse protesters who had gathered outside Kenosha, Wisconsin's courthouse, where some shook a protective fence and threw water bottles and fireworks at officers. (Aug. 26) President Trump went on a riff about a CNN reporter who "got hit in the knee with a canister of tear gas" and claimed "police brutality." After a five-year-long trial, the Greek court on Wednesday found members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn guilty of murder and assault. The neo-Nazi group's leader was convicted of running a criminal organization.
Thousands of police officers were stationed around the Athens courthouse as the verdict was read and tear gas and water cannons were used to disperse crowds. Over 10,000 protesters gathered to take part in antifascist rallies outside.
The defendants included Golden Dawn founder Nikos Michaloliakos and members of his inner circle. They now face 10 years in prison. The prosecution caused an uproar in 2019 when chief prosecutor Adamantia Economou suggested acquitting party leaders due to lack of evidence.
The neo-Nazi party was founded in the 1980s and rose to prominence during Greece's decades-long financial crisis, entering parliament in 2012 as the third-largest group with 12% of the vote. The prosecution began in connection with the murder of the Pavlos Fyssas in 2013. The rapper was stabbed to death in Athens after being chased by a gang of Golden Dawn thugs. Preliminary investigations found that the party operated as a paramilitary organization with orders passed from the central leadership to local groups to carry out attacks against migrants, often leading to serious injury. Greek police have fired tear gas during a protest by refugees and migrants demanding to leave the island of Lesbos after being left homeless by a blaze at Europe's largest refugee camp.
They are demanding humanitarian assistance and a chance to leave the island completely. Plans to relocate them to another camp are being met with huge resistance.
Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos reports from Lesbos, Greece.