August 29, 2011 Contra Info
In the night of August 26th, in Jaime Eyzaguirre neighbourhood of Manuel Gutiérrez Reinoso who was shot dead by police, his relatives and friends held a candle ceremony in the memory of the deceased and marched in the streets of Macul community. Protest gatherings and marches took place in various Chilean cities, as well as in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Alameda Avenue in downtown Santiago, after 19.00 the cops used violence, water cannons and tear gas to break up the protest march of more than 200 demonstrators. Five protesters were detained, and people in solidarity responded by setting up barricades and clashing with the repressive forces.
The total number of detainees across Chile during the demonstrations of the 48hour general strike (August 24th-25th) is 1,394 people. More than 300 were charged with minor or major violent disorder, assault on police officers and looting, in the majority of cases. Most of the persecuted people were released on restrictive bail conditions; namely they are obliged to appear periodically before the authorities, they are banned from exiting the country and banned from participating in manifestations. Furthermore, more than 20 protesters (the precise number is yet unconfirmed) were charged with firearms possession, and some have been held in custody.
During the protests on Thursday, August 25th, in Santiago, three Colombian youngsters who threw objects against Carabiniers were followed and snatched by undercover agents of the Dipolcar political police. One of them was released. The other two youngsters — one 15-year-old and one 20-year-old — were charged with public violent disorder, and the prosecutor demanded their expulsion from the country. The 15-year-old boy is a political refugee and will not be deported, but the 20-year-old Colombian is threatened with expulsion due to the fact that he joined the protests. In the meantime, the authorities of Santiago Province have filed a lawsuit against the arrested immigrants. (It must be noted that on August 19th in Bogotá, Colombia, a 16-year-old graffitist, Diego Felipe Becerra, has been shot dead in cold blood by national police; protest marches followed Diego’s death.)
It is clear that this repressive action serves as an exemplary measure against all immigrants who live in Chile, so that they know what can happen to them if they protest. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants are being exploited, live in over-crowed homes, and suffer constant discriminations because of their origin and a long list of humiliations for the sole reason of coming from another country. These people could explode at any time against oppression; that’s why the Power suppresses brutally any immigrant that has the ‘nerve’ to protest. In the past, the State of Chile has deported immigrants on the grounds of their participation in gatherings and demos, their solidarity with the Mapuche people or their close relations with left and anarchist radical groups.
Also, on August 25th, a 12-year-old kid was hit in the face by a tear gas grenade during the manifestations in Concepción. The boy’s cheek was deformed after one of the Chilean police murderers fired tear gas against him, near the city’s university.
This is not something new: After the rally for public education on May12th, Carabiniers brutally invaded the University of Concepción. The student Paulina Rubilar was severely injured in one eye by a tear gas grenade.
The murderous practice of firing tear gas straight at demonstrators, along with the extensive use of rubber bullets and plastic pellets has caused injuries to hundreds of people in recent months. Plastic pellets, in addition to causing permanent injuries, can also be fatal —as had happened on March 27th, 1984, during the students protests of the era, when the 24-year-old student Caupolicán Inostroza Lamas was killed by plastic pellets fired by servants of Pinochet’s dictatorship that struck him in the throat.
Nevertheless it seems that bourgeois democracy transcends dictatorship. It is worth mentioning that manifestations against Chile’s billionaire president Sebastián Piñera take place in most (but not all) of the places where he shows up. His government tries to cover up the case of Manuel Gutiérrez Reinoso’s murder. At the same time, police spokesmen deny that a cop, a man of their kind, shot the boy while the corporate media reproduce blatant scenarios in order to weaken the case of state murder.
In a joint statement, the residents of Jaime Eyzaguirre neighbourhood — where the murdered teenager lived — confirm that the police alone are responsible for this murder, like all the testimonies indicate, including that of Manuel’s 22-year-old brother who was with him at the time of murder. The district falls under the jurisdiction of the 43rd Police Department of Peñalolén. In the same statement the residents report that another neighbour was injured in the shoulder by the cops’ shootings. According to the regime’s Press, a youngster confirmed the existence of the injured neighbour. He added that when the patrol car appeared on Amanda Labarca Street, protesters began to hurdle stones on it, and then the cops opened gunfire. However, Manuel was killed nearly 70 metres from the point where the clashes evolved.