Anger in Chile After Boy Is Proven Falling From Bridge Throughout Police Clashes
SANTIAGO – Security forces in Chile’s capital, Santiago, were charged with malpractice on Friday after video emerged of a teenage boy falling from a bridge into a river in a clash with police.
The video of the fall into the shallow river went viral in the country, which was rocked almost exactly a year ago by major protests in which 31 people died, thousands were injured and imprisoned, and metro stations and buildings were badly damaged.
The country’s children’s ombudsman said on Twitter late Friday that he intended to file an “attempted murder” complaint through the video of police officers throwing the teenager into the bed of the Mapocho River.
The teenager was admitted to a nursing home. Prosecutors plan to investigate the matter.
In a video on Saturday, the police published Lieut on Twitter. Colonel Rodrigo Soto denied that officers had held the boy by his feet or that he was driven into the river by a police water cannon, “as invented by social media witnesses”.
“This unfortunate accident occurred in an intense context of the arrests of people who were causing disorder,” he added.
The Chilean government said in a statement on Saturday that it had ordered an investigation into the matter and that the officer concerned would be released from his duties while the investigation was being conducted.
“The government rejects and condemns all forms of violence, regardless of their origin or motivation,” she added.
The episode came after about 100 people with various demands gathered in an iconic square in central Santiago, resulting in skirmishes with the police. But the protest was a far cry from the big rallies of last year and earlier this year before the pandemic.
Analysts fear the anniversary of the 2019 protests, sparked by a surge in public transport prices last October, will spark a new wave of unrest that largely stalled in March due to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.