SANTIAGO — Protests erupted in a popular lakeside resort in southern Chile after a policeman shot and killed a street performer in the normally sleepy village, prompting the government of President Sebastian Pinera to call an emergency meeting on Saturday.
Arsonists attacked several public buildings in Panguipulli late on Friday including the municipal headquarters, which was still smoldering early on Saturday. Protesters also set burning barricades and threw rocks at the police station, according to official and local media reports.
Wider protests since late 2019 have put the country’s Carabinero police force under intense scrutiny, with local and international watchdog groups alleging excessive use of force and human rights violations.
Chilean police have detained the officer involved in the shooting while it is investigated, according to officials, who said the protests had slowed the evidence-gathering process.
Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado, who convened his staff on Saturday to discuss the events, condemned the arson and promised justice would be served in the shooting.
Panguipulli is best known for its nearby hot springs, glacier-fed lakes and volcanoes.