The image of the fire with total destruction of the Church of the Assumption, a few meters from the emblematic Plaza Italia. in the center of Santiago de Chile, marked the day of protests on the first anniversary of the social outbreak that began massive marches and clashes with Carabineros (Police) and military forces, which left thousands of wounded, about thirty dead and put in check on the Government of Sebastián Piñera.
This wave of citizen complaints forced a political agreement, by which a plebiscite was called to find out if the public wants to change the Constitution inherited from the civic-military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), which, after being postponed in April due to the pandemic, it will be held next Sunday.
The protesters began to arrive at 11 in the morning at the emblematic Plaza Italia, popularly renamed Plaza Dignidad, which was guarded by Carabineros.
As the minutes passed, the tension prevailed and after an attempt by the forces of order to break up the demonstration, the uniformed men left the place.
The protesters took the plaza peacefully throughout the day and according to police figures, at its peak, it reached 25,000 people.
Many arrived on bicycles and others on foot, as the city center was cut off from vehicular traffic, and nearby subway stations are temporarily out of service.
The protesters arrived carrying Mapuche and Chilean flags and banners against the government and the economic system.
During most of the day, the demonstrations took place without incident, responding to the call made by the main authorities of the country in the face of this long-awaited day of protests.
But after 4:30 p.m. some violent incidents began in the surroundings of Plaza Italia, such as the burning of two churches, an insurance office, and looting of supermarkets in the area.
The Church of the Assumption suffered total destruction, including the bell tower collapsed as a result of the flames, an act that was celebrated by protesters in the place.
The other fire was registered in the San Francisco de Borja church, the institutional chapel of the Carabineros (police), in the center of the capital, when a group of men broke in and caused damage and even a fire that was put out by firefighters, an action that ended with five detainees.
Another point of violence was a fire in the offices of the Mutual de Seguridad of the Chilean Chamber of Construction, which is a non-profit corporation that provides coverage for workplace accidents.
There was also an attack on the police station of the popular Puente Alto commune (neighborhood).