Amid weeks of violent unrest, a church was looted by Chilean rioters who burned religious statues and paintings in the streets.
For nearly four weeks, there has been mass protest and violent unrest in Chile over increased cost of living, taxes, and income inequality. Called the “worst civil unrest” since Pinochet’s dictatorship, nearly 2,500 people have been injured and 19 have died.
On Friday, masked rioters in the countrys capital of Santiago looted the La Asuncion church. They ransacked the interior, defacing the inside with spray paint. Stripped bare, pews, paintings, and statues of Jesus and Mary were taken and burned in the streets.
The religious items became part of a barricade before the rioters clashed with police. The ashes from the blaze spread to Santiago’s Plaza Italia square where an estimated 75,000 people had crowded, chanting and holding Chilean national flags.
The La Asuncion church dates back to the 1520s since the city’s inception, however the present church was completed in 1922 and recently renovated in 2015 for Santiago’s quincentennial.