Photos: Clashes in Chile mark third anniversary of 2019 protests

In Chile, police have attempted to quell protests, resulting in scattered violence marking the third anniversary of the 2019 protests against inequality that left more than 30 people dead.

In the capital Santiago on Tuesday, peaceful protesters gathered around the city to remember the victims.

In other parts, police responded with tear gas and water cannon when hooded protesters lit fires and threw rocks, including in the area surrounding Plaza Baquedano, the epicentre of the 2019 protests.

Speaking from La Moneda Palace on Tuesday morning, President Gabriel Boric, who took office this year and supported the 2019 protests as a legislator, said there was an opportunity to build the foundations of a less unequal society.

“The social unrest expressed – and brought – a lot of pain and has left huge consequences,” Boric said. “We will not allow it to be in vain, we cannot be the same as a society after this experience, we cannot make the same mistakes.”

Several human rights organisations have questioned the police response during the 2019 protests, which left hundreds of protesters blinded by rubber bullets and tens of thousands of people detained.

“To be clear, human rights violations like ocular injuries, sexual assaults, grave injuries, even deaths, are unacceptable,” Boric said, adding that the police have the government’s “full support to fight crime and assure public order”.

The 2019 protests died down with an agreement to draft a new constitution and the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed constitution was overwhelmingly rejected by voters last month, forcing the government back to the drawing board as voters continue to demand change amid a struggling economy.

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