Horrifying moment two female riot cops burst into flames in petrol bomb attack as Chile protests erupt – The SunNovember 5, 2019
DRAMATIC pictures show two female riot cops being set on fire when they were hit by petrol bombs thrown by protesters in Chile.
The officers recoiled in agony as colleagues rushed to extinguish the flames engulfing their heads amid further brutal violence in the capital Santiago.
Pictures showed two female members of the Carabineros force were burned while trying to contain the latest demo on Plaza Italia.
They were named in local media as Maria Hernandez Torres and Abigail Aburto Cardenas.
Police said the officers are being treated in hospital, but their injuries are not life-threatening.
Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel, who visited them in hospital, condemned the "cowardly attack".
And Senator Isabel Allende Bussi said on Twitter: "Defending human rights is also about rejecting this kind of behaviour.
"I hope there will be many raised voices against this violence, burning and looting that does nothing to improve people's quality of life".
WEEKS OF TURMOIL
Chile's cops have faced allegations of violence and sexual assault against anti-government protesters amid an ongoing uprising.
It began last month over a hike in subway fares – since scrapped – but protests have spread to five other cities as demonstrators demand better education and health services and an end to inequality.
At least 20 people have died and more than 1,500 injured in almost three weeks of rioting, arson and looting.
The National Institute of Human Rights in Chile claimed "several serious human rights violations" have been committed by the authorities.
Thousands of Chileans marched again yesterday after a short pause, and clashes erupted as rioters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who used tear gas and water cannon to break up the crowds.
The ongoing violence has forced the cancellation of two major international summits – including one on the environment which Greta Thunberg was due to attend.
Before the marchers gathered, Finance Minister Ignacio Briones warned the protests are hurting the economy of one of Latin America's richest nations and he has been forced to downgrade growth forecasts.
Santiago's subway system has said that it has suffered nearly $400 million in damages, while businesses in Chile are estimated to have lost more than $1.4 billion in damages to arson, looting and lost sales.
President Sebastian Pinera – a billionaire and one of the country's richest men – has declared a state of emergency.
He has replaced the heads of several ministries with younger officials but has struggled to contain the protests and is facing calls to resign.
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