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Police say 100 arrested as clashes mark Chile coup anniversary

A demonstrator is hit by a jet from a water cannon during a protest in homage to the victims of Chile's 1973 military coup, in Santiago, September 2020
A demonstrator is hit by a jet from a water cannon during a protest in homage to the victims of Chile's 1973 military coup, in Santiago, September 2020 Martin BERNETTI AFP
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Santiago (AFP)

Chilean police said Saturday that more than 100 people were arrested after clashes marking the 47th anniversary of the coup d'etat that overthrew the leftist government of Salvador Allende.

Sixteen police officers and two civilians were wounded in the clashes that erupted after ceremonies commemorating Allende, who died in the coup that ushered in 17 years of military rule under General Augusto Pinochet.

Police general Ricardo Yanez said three police barracks had come under attack, his forces had been targeted by "several attacks with incendiary devices" and vehicles had been torched.

Most of the disturbances took place in the capital Santiago, after a march to the La Moneda presidential palace to pay tribute to Allende. The clashes continued through the night and into early morning.

The date is marked annually by violent incidents between protesters and police, with residents in some neighborhoods erecting barricades.

Yanez said the number of violent incidents had increased this year but that they were less intense than previously.

Interior Minister Victor Perez told a press conference that "it is clear that there are violent groups whose only capacity is to destroy" and that needed to be confronted and brought to justice.

Most the clashes occurred in Santiago, especially around the central Plaza Italia square which was the epicenter of months of social protests that erupted in October last year and left around 30 people dead and thousands wounded.

Allende committed suicide by shooting himself during the September 11, 1973 coup, having vowed not to be taken alive as Pinochet's troops stormed the presidential palace.

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