Demonstrators set a riot police vehicle on fire during clashes on the commemoration of the first anniversary of the social uprising in Chile, in Santiago, on October 18, 2020, as the country prepares for a landmark referendum. The unrest saw the military take to the streets for the first time since the rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet. Demonstrators loot churches in Chile and burn statues of Jesus in the streets as month-long protest over inequality turns violent. Santiago, Chile, Nov 12, 2019 / 11:01 pm MT ().-Several churches across Chile have been attacked and looted amid anti-government protests in the country. – Changing the constitution enacted under former dictator Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973-90, was a key demand of protesters during the two months of violent civil unrest against the government and inequality. Police fired tear gas and water cannons in skirmishes with sometimes violent, hooded and masked people. To enable commenting and other interactive features, please switch to the more advanced . People gathered early in the day in demonstrations downtown and in cities throughout Chile that gained size and fervor through the evening. Last year’s protests, which began Oct. 18, raged until mid-December as Chileans gathered nationwide to call for reforms to the pension, healthcare and education systems. One church close to Plaza Italia was burned to the ground as hooded protesters cheered, while a second-place of worship was looted and also suffered fire damage. Chile anniversary rallies turn violent as churches burned, police fire tear gas Protest against Chile's government during the one-year anniversary in Santiago of the protests and riots in 2019 Dave Sherwood and Natalia A. Ramos Miranda The building dated back to 1876. Many touted signs and rainbow colored homemade banners calling for a “yes” vote next Sunday in a referendum over whether to scrap the country’s dictatorship-era Constitution, a key demand of the 2019 protests. EWTN’s full tweet reads, “Chilean protesters burned [two] Catholic churches on the anniversary of last year’s anti-government demonstrations and ahead of a constitutional referendum. Rioting and looting resulted in billions of dollars in damage and losses to the country’s businesses and infrastructure. Interior Minister Victor Perez spoke late in the evening, praising the early, peaceful rallies while blasting the late-night mayhem. Protests broke out a year ago initially as a response to a hike in metro fares, before mushrooming into a general demonstration against inequality and the government. Protesters in Chile burned two churches Sunday night, after anti-government protests in the capital city of Santiago became violent. Early in the day, an angry mob jeered and threatened a Communist Party mayor. The communist mayor of a neighbourhood near the central square, Daniel Jadue, was hounded out of Plaza Italia by protesters. (CNS photo/Ivan Alvarado, Reuters) SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) — Demonstrators burned two Catholic churches in Chile, where gatherings to mark the one-year anniversary of mass protests against inequality descended into chaos. The dome of the church of Asunción falls down burning in flames after being set on fire by rioters on the commemoration of the first anniversary of the social uprising in Chile… He called on Chileans to settle their differences by voting in the upcoming Oct. 25 constitutional referendum. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays. Churches burned as thousands mark Chile protest movement anniversary. Archbishop Celestino Aos, of Santiago, released a statement lamenting the destruction of churches and public property, "but we regret above all the pain of so many Chilean people of peace and generosity" https://t.co/n5NmHWM90y Chileans will be asked two questions on October 25: do they want a new constitution and who should draft it. The demonstration comes just a week before Chileans vote in a referendum on whether to replace the dictatorship-era constitution — one of the key demands when the protest movement began in October 2019. Two Catholic churches in Santiago were burned as well. 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