Chile police arrest dozens at Santiago May Day protest

Santiago (AFP)

Chilean police on Friday arrested dozens of people, including press photographers, when they broke up a May Day demonstration in the capital Santiago.

Demonstrators had gathered in the city’s Plaza Italia in defiance of a government prohibition on public gatherings of more than 50 people as part of measures against the coronavirus.

Riot police arrest demostrators in Santiago on Friday after breaking up a May Day protest that contravened social distancing rules Marcelo HERNANDEZ ATON CHILE/AFP

Security forces quickly moved in to break up the protest, arresting 57 people. Among those detained were cameramen and photographers from international media, including an AFP photographer.

They were later released without charge.

Police reported that one of the protesters who was detained “was a man who had tested positive for COVID-19 who was supposed to be quarantined until May 9.”

Similar incidents were reported in the port city of Valparaiso, 120 kilometers west of Santiago, where journalists were among those detained.

Chilean health authorities had reported 17,008 coronavirus infections by Friday, with 234 deaths.

Curfews and quarantines imposed as part of measures against the pandemic have largely calmed months of social protests against the conservative government of President Sebastian Pinera.

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