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  • Military policeman points his gun at a citizen who is banging a saucepan as a form of protest, Santiago, Chile, Oct. 13, 2020.

    Military policeman points his gun at a citizen who is banging a saucepan as a form of protest, Santiago, Chile, Oct. 13, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @TPU19J

Published 14 October 2020
Opinion

Although authorities say officers have been trained to use less force, they continue to interpret flagrant human rights violations as accidents.

Chile’s Security Director Ricardo Yañez announced that 40,000 police officers are ready to control the demonstrations that will take place on October 18.

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On that date, thousands of citizens are expected to take to the streets to commemorate the first anniversary of the "Social Outbreak" through which Chileans protested against the political and economic order inherited by the Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990).

Yáñez pointed out that the Military Police (Carabineros) will focus their actions on the areas where the greatest number of protests occurred in October 2019. Among those, for example, is Santiago City's Plaza Italia, an iconic place that people renamed "the Dignity Square."

He also mentioned that a "new protest control system" will be put into operation through teams of police officers who have been trained in "the least use of force."

The Interior Ministry explained that its security forces will "protect the demonstration"; however, if there are disorders, they will resort to "the appropriate use of force." 

The authorities' latest statements on respect for human rights seem to contradict their interpretation of recent events.

When referring to what happened to a citizen who was deliberately thrown from a bridge by a police officer, an event that was recorded in a video posted on social networks, the Order and Safety director expressed that these types of accidents are difficult to avoid.

“A person can fall, hit his head, hit a tree or a pole… That is beyond our control. Those who are exposed to these events are those who committed crimes. And if they are exposed to that, they risk a complex situation,” Yáñez said, as reported by local outlet Diario U.

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