Chilean protesters storm Argentina embassy over activist’s death

SANTIAGO – More than a hundred people demonstrated on Monday night in Santiago de Chile to demand justice for the death of Santiago Maldonado, whose body was found on the Chubut River last week.

The concentration ended in violent incidents and two people were arrested.

Several social organizations had convened for the afternoon a march that was dissolved when a group of hooded threw molotov bombs and stones to the front yard of the consulate of Argentina and broke some windows of the building. In addition, they attempted to ignite a bus from Santiago’s public transportation system.

About 150 protesters had gathered at the central Plaza Italia in Santiago, in order to “demand the truth” about the death of Maldonado, who was last seen on August 1, in a protest by a Mapuche community in route 40.

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Some government opposition and rights groups have said state security forces took Maldonado, a 28-year-old craftsman, after police reportedly clashed with Mapuche Indians who claim territory throughout southern Argentina and Chile.

Police in armoured vehicles used water cannon to disperse protesters.

Commander Mauricio Lermanda, prefect of the Central-North Carabineros, reported that the protesters blocked vehicular traffic, “intercepted a bus from Transantiago, which caused damage” and later carried out the same “at the consulate and residence of the consul of Argentina in Chile”.

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Argentina’s Ambassador Jose Octavio Bordón explained that “a very large group of people destroyed some things in the public highway” and stated that “with cement they threw the entrance gate of the residence, they did a series of damages in the ground floor of the residence and of the consulate “.

In addition, he commented that the demonstrators “destroyed car windows that were parked. Luckily there were no injuries,” he added.

After the unrest, Bordon met with Undersecretary of the Interior Mahmud Aleuy, who said he will arrange new security measures to protect the building.