Several public buildings in Panguipulli, in the Mapuche region in southern Chile, were set on fire on Friday evening (5). The population took to the streets of the city to protest against the death of a street artist by a police officer.
The artist was shot at point blank range, in an approach while checking his identity papers. The video of the violent police action quickly went viral on the internet.
The images, recorded by witnesses to the scene, show the man targeted by several armed police, in the middle of the street and in broad daylight. Suddenly, the artist approaches one of the agents who shoots him first on his feet and then on his chest. The young man died instantly.
Police claimed “self-defense”, claiming the artist was armed with a saber. However, several witnesses to the scene claim that he carried circus swords, whose blades are blind to avoid any risk of injuring people.
Many residents of the small town of just 35,000 inhabitants were outraged and took to the streets to protest against police violence. Panguipulli prefecture was the first to be attacked and was completely set on fire, as was the city’s police station and court of justice.
The wave of indignation and emotion conquered the country. The officer responsible for the shooting has been arrested and the Chilean government has asked the police to provide all available information on the case. The left-wing opposition denounces this new police violence.
In recent years, the popularity of the Chilean police has fallen sharply. The company has come under heavy criticism after several corruption scandals and the wave of brutal repression against the social movement of October 2019, when thousands of Chileans took to the streets to denounce the inequalities in the country.