Chile police officer charged with reckless injury

Santiago (AFP) –


Chilean prosecutors filed charges of reckless injury against a military policeman at a Santiago court as the death toll from anti-government demonstrations rose to 26.

Chile has been rocked for months by the most severe protests since the end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet nearly 30 years ago.

There have been multiple complaints by international rights organisations about the police crackdown on the protests.

Prosecutors on Saturday identified military policeman Mauricio Carrillo as the driver of a vehicle that crushed 20-year-old Oscar Perez, who is being treated in hospital for a fractured pelvis.

The judge said it could not be determined whether the driver acted intentionally.

Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director for Human Rights Watch, said those responsible for excesses needed to be held to account.

"The material perpetrators and those in command of the operation must be fired and face criminal penalties," he said.

"If that does not happen, the abuses will continue."

The UN rights office earlier this month also accused the police and army of violating international norms and standards for crowd control and use of force.

In other violence, two charred bodies were found in Valparaiso, in the west of Chile, in a shop that was set on fire in November, officers confirmed on Saturday, taking the overall death toll to 26.

The bodies were recovered in the basement of the building, which was flooded during the operation to put out the blaze, and which firefighters had been unable to access until now, a police spokesperson said.