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Chile 2019: Police Violence and Call for Change as Thousands Took the Streets

Police repression left hundreds blind in Chile

In the latter part of 2019, Chile experienced a profound political crisis marked by sweeping protests and a forceful police response, further intensifying public outrage. Initially triggered by a subway fare hike, the demonstrations swiftly transformed into a nationwide movement, with citizens expressing deep-seated grievances over social and economic inequalities. As thousands took to the streets, the police response turned increasingly violent, resulting in shocking incidents of human rights abuses. Hundreds of protesters suffered severe eye injuries, with many left permanently blind in one or both eyes, shedding light on the excessive force used by security forces.

The heavy-handed tactics employed by the police fueled calls for the resignation of President Sebastián Piñera, as citizens demanded accountability for the violence and substantive reforms. President Piñera, under heavy pressure from the population, proposed a series of reforms, including changes to the constitution, to address the root causes of the discontent. The events of late 2019 in Chile underscored the urgent need for socio-political change and the imperative of ensuring the protection of fundamental human rights amid public dissent.

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