A CHILEAN TEENAGER has been killed after sustaining gunshot wounds during a mass protest against President Sebatsián Piñera in the country’s capital.
The 14-year-old was shot in the chest during the protest in Santiago and later died in hospital, according to local media. Reuters has named him as Manuel Gutierrez. He was shot near a security barricade.
Local media have reportedly said witnesses blamed police for firing shots, reports the Guardian.
Violence has flared during the two-day demonstration, as hundreds of thousands of people demanding a change to the government’s education policies, as well as economic change, took the streets.
Rodrigo Ubilla, undersecretary at the Interior Ministry, said: ”The death of any citizen is a very serious situation… We should all be sad today because we have not been able to move forward peacefully.”
Union leaders claimed 600,000 people joined demonstrations nationwide. Raul de la Puente, president of the government employees union, said 80 percent of his members joined the strike, at the cost of two days’ pay.
More than 450 people have been arrested and dozens injured during the protests.
What began three months ago as a series of isolated classroom boycotts by high school and university students demanding education improvements has grown into a mass movement calling for all manner of changes in Chile’s topdown form of government.
Protesters now want increases in education and health care spending, pension and labor code reform, even a new constitution that would give voters the chance to participate in referendums — a form of direct democracy previously unthinkable in a country only two decades removed from a 1973-90 military dictatorship.
Additional reporting by the AP