Hard images: armored cars crush demonstrator in Chile

Two armored cars crashed a demonstrator in the Chilean capital Santiago on Friday. According to the victim’s sister, the collision broke the victim’s pelvis.

Demonstrators have been taking to the streets in Chile for weeks in protest against social inequality and exclusion in the South American country. They feel that the government is doing too little to distribute the increased wealth more equitably and to improve the lack of social mobility.

The demonstrators, therefore, demand the resignation of President Sebastián Piñera. Although his government promised to take some measures against the social crisis, the president is not considering resigning. He is pulling hard at the demonstrators, among whom some set fire to several subway stations and looted shops.

The media, which report on larger and smaller demonstrations on a daily basis, managed to capture the exact moment at which some armored cars seem to run into the demonstrators deliberately. In doing so, a demonstrator is crushed between two vehicles.

“War against the Chilean people”

Opposition MP Giorgio Jackson speaks in shame of the ongoing violence by the security forces: “The mayor has responded to the President’s call for war and has besieged Dignity Square (where the demonstrators gather – ed.). The result? More violence and human rights violations. Somebody has to tell the president to end this war against the Chilean people.”

Marta Cortez, the mother of the victim (Oscar), announces via Twitter that her son has been “deliberately hit and crushed” by two ‘skunks’, the nickname of the Chilean armored cars. They got that nickname because tear gas grenades are regularly thrown from the hatches of the wagons to disperse demonstrators. Cortez holds the Chilean government responsible for the injury of her son who is “miraculously still alive.”

Valeria, the victim’s sister, is also stirring on the web: “My brother’s pelvis is broken, he is in stable condition,” she writes on Twitter. She is convinced that it is not an accident: “The first thing I said to my mother was: they did this on purpose.”

Human rights

The incident does not stand alone. Both Chilean and international human rights organizations have documented and condemned the violence and human rights violations by the security forces. Human Rights Watch calculated that 26 people died since the protests started in October. More than 11,000 people were injured and 19 demonstrators lost an eye. Sexual violence against female protesters is also not shunned.

Partly because of this, feminists took to the streets and brought this issue to the attention through the song ‘the rapist that’s you’ – which in the meantime went viral worldwide.

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