Apparent serious assault is latest in series of alleged human rights abuses by Carabineros
Less than a month before Chile votes on whether to replace its Pinochet-era constitution, police have brutally repressed demonstrators in the capital, Santiago.
On Friday evening officers of the Carabineros police force used plumes of teargas and high-pressure water jets to disperse protesters congregating in Plaza Italia, where pockets of violence flared amid a heavy police presence.
Videos show a 16-year-old boy being bundled over the railings of a bridge by a police officer. The boy fell into the dirty concrete channel of the Mapocho river, where he lay motionless, face down in the shallow water.
“As the protesters fled, we saw the moment that the officer intercepted [the boy] and threw him from the bridge,” said Pavel Pavelic Jofre, who led a company of volunteers at the protests.
“We managed to get two of our group down to assist him, and after stabilising his condition the fire brigade were able to lift him away from the river to be taken to hospital.”
Addressing the incident in a televised address, General Enrique Monrás, a spokesperson for the Carabineros, did not rule out the force’s responsibility for what had happened, but said that in his opinion, the boy “lost his balance and fell” during an arrest.