Dec 20, 2019
The ongoing protest movement in Chile has had success--the country's constitution is expected to be rewritten as a concession from President Sebastien Pinera to demonstrators--but still faces a harsh crackdown from government security forces, who in a series of assaults Friday fired projectiles at crowds and crush one young man between two armored jeeps, causing him serious injury.
Twenty-year-old Oscar Ignacio Perez Cortez was pinned between two police jeeps--called by protesters zorrillos, or "skunks"--on Friday when one of the vehicles slammed the young man into the side of the other.
Footage from the attack shows outraged demonstrators attacking the zorrillos and tending to Perez immediately after the assault.
\u201cMomento en que #Carabineros APLAST\u00d3 con dos veh\u00edculos (zorrillos) a un manifestante en Plaza de la dignidad. Clase Navidad @sebastianpinera que le estas dando a #Chile, mientras @mbachelet y las organizaciones internacionales como @CIDH y @OEA_oficial \ud83e\udd10\u201d— \ud83c\udf39Rosario Espinales \ud83c\udf39\ud83d\udcab (@\ud83c\udf39Rosario Espinales \ud83c\udf39\ud83d\udcab) 1576886040
"This video is terrifying," said journalist Ben Norton.
The zorillo attack came during clashes between heavily armed police and unarmed demonstrators.
\u201cCARABINEROS tirando piedras y disparando perdigones a corta distancia, ayer, en Ram\u00f3n Corval\u00e1n/Alameda.\u201d— PIENSAPRENSA 315 mil Seguidores (@PIENSAPRENSA 315 mil Seguidores) 1576950427
Perez escaped death but sustained serious injuries including four pelvic fractures, a split urethra, and other damage.
"The first thing he said to my mother was 'they did it on purpose,'" tweeted Perez's sister Valeria.
Perez's mother Maria Cortez told author Ignacio Vidaurrazaga Manriquez that the police attack on her son was indicative of the state reaction to the protest movement.
"My son Oscar was brutally, intentionally run over and crushed by two skunks," said Cortez. "Miraculously is alive. This barbarism, endorsed by the minister of the interior and the state of Chile, must stop!"
Santiago Metropolitan Province police superintendent Felipe Guevara expressed on Twitter his "regret" for the Friday evening assault. The driver was reportedly arrested and arraigned on Saturday, but the public was not allowed into the courtroom during the alleged arraignment.
Valeria Perez told reporters outside of the courtroom that the family would not be satisfied with only the guilt of the driver of the vehicle.
"As a family we want it to be known, this is the guilt of the state," said Valeria Perez.
\u201c\ud83d\udd34"Como familia queremos que se sepa. ESTO ES CULPA DEL ESTADO, DE LOS PACOS, DEL INTENDENTE, y no solo del paco jalero inculiable que iba manejando."\n\nVia @Valefanteee hermana de Oscar\u201d— PIENSAPRENSA 315 mil Seguidores (@PIENSAPRENSA 315 mil Seguidores) 1576905487
Despite the police rhetoric after the attack on Perez, clashes on Saturday saw security forces continuing to use excessive force on protesters.
\u201cAQU\u00cd OTRO REGISTRO Carabineros dispar\u00f3 bomba lacrim\u00f3genas directo al rostro de una persona que los grababa, a menos de 10 metros. Alameda, frente al GAM.\u201d— PIENSAPRENSA 315 mil Seguidores (@PIENSAPRENSA 315 mil Seguidores) 1576950739
In the months since the protest movement exploded in October 3,557 people have reportedly been injured by police forces. There have also been reports of police disappearing protesters since the movement began.
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