ICC Note: Last week, a student protest in Chile turned violent as protesters sacked a Catholic church in Santiago, destroying a statue of Jesus in the process. The attackers were reportedly a radical offshoot of a group that protests government education reforms. Although the attack seemed to be politically motivated, this church tragically found themselves as victims of the violence.
06/11/2016 Chile (Christian Today) – A student march in Chile’s capital on Thursday ended with violent confrontations with police and the sacking of a Catholic church as the radicalization of the country’s politically powerful student movement intensified.
University and high school students in Chile have become increasingly disenchanted with the left-leaning government of President Michelle Bachelet.
They have accused Bachelet of reneging on a number of promises regarding social and economic reforms, and are incensed over the government’s failure to complete a planned education overhaul, which has been diluted due to budget constraints. They have promised more protests.
At the end of the march on Thursday, masked protesters entered a church in downtown Santiago and destroyed a 3-meter (9.84 ft) tall statue of Jesus Christ.
Gabriel Iturra, spokesman for the student union Confech, said the act was inappropriate and had been committed by a fringe group with little understanding of the movement’s principles.
Chile’s Interior Ministry Mario Fernandez, who took over the post on Wednesday after the prior minister resigned, also condemned the statue’s destruction.
“What we have just seen is a very troubling symptom of what some people are starting to do to our country,” he told reporters.