The Guardian: Chile police using Covid-19 quarantine as pretext to crush protest, activists say

Photo: Langelle Photography

Demonstrations over hunger by people thrown out of work by the pandemic have been met with violent repression

The Guardian 26 Aug 2020

Charis McGowan in Santiago and Naomi Larsson

Violeta Delgado was at a protest over food shortages under Chile’s coronavirus lockdowns when the police arrived and fired off a volley of teargas rounds.

Delgado, who was seven months pregnant, says she put her hands up to show she was unarmed, but was struck by a police vehicle and knocked to the ground.

“I couldn’t feel my legs, my friends dragged me to a nearby clinic,” she said. “We thought they were going to kill us.”

The pandemic has forced many Chileans out of work, and – with only a meagre social safety net – residents of poor neighbourhoods are living in destitution. But demonstrations over hunger have been met by violent repression, according to activists and human rights groups, who say that police have used the enforcement of quarantine orders as a pretext for a crackdown on protest.

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