September 11th was the day that, in 1973, the commander-in-chief of the Chilean army Augusto Pinochet took power over the democratically elected president Allende. Pinochet killed and tortured thousands in his dictatorial rule, until 1990.
On the same day, in 1998, anarchist Claudia López was shot dead by cops of the reinstated democracy while she fought at a barricade during a commemoration of the 1973 coup d’etat. Since then, under the slogan of ‘Black September’ demonstrators fight state repression in remembrance of Claudia and all of those who fell in combat.
This year, sabotages, barricades, street battles with petrol bombs and armed attacks on police took place during the 39th anniversary of September 11th, leaving one cop shot dead and many other pigs injured.
Coverage released on September 13th:
• The night before the 11th
On the night of September 10th, agents from the 30th police patrol station in the Santiago Metropolitan Region carried out operations in various communities in an attempt to prevent outbreaks of riots towards a new September 11th. The so-called ‘Centaur squadron’ carried out vehicle and identity checks in the neighbourhoods of Puente Alto, La Pintana, Recoleta and Conchalí, as well as the removal of material that could be used for barricades and confrontations, like abandoned tires.
After these operations, cops arrested 117 people, including 109 for drug law violation, five for pending arrest warrants, two for carrying bladed weapons (knives, etc.) and one for gun-control law violation, with eighty .45-caliber cartridges found in his/her possession. All of these people were held for trial under the corresponding judicial authorities.
Clashes on the night of the 10th
Despite the preventative attempts of the police, during the night of Monday 10th riots and confrontations were registered at different locations of the country.
In the neighbourhood of San Bernardo, from 22.00pm onwards, hooded individuals (encapuchadxs) held up traffic and set fire to barricades at three intersections. As carabineros police squads started to arrive, people threw stones, heavy objects and molotov cocktails at them, with the police responding with tear gas, water cannons and shotguns to disperse the crowd. The hooded individuals also attacked the 14th carabineros police station, throwing all sorts of objects at it.
In La Florida neighbourhood, at around 00.50am, hooded individuals lit up barricades outside the Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna high school, stopping traffic flow and causing some disturbances.
At the same time, in the El Bosque neighbourhood, approximately 30 hooded individuals set alight barricades with tires and debris outside the Juan Gómez Milla high school, stopping traffic flow on the Gran Avenida. At the arrival of the carabineros, the youths clashed with the forces of order.
In other regions:
In Coquimbo, at around 21.00pm, nearly 30 hooded individuals blockaded a road outside the Andrés Bello Campus opposite La Serena University. They damaged a CCTV camera and set alight to tires and signage. During the clashes, five carabineros were injured by stones thrown from the demonstrators.
In Viña del Mar, at around 02.00am, approximately 15 hooded individuals set tires alight opposite Guillermo Pérez Cotapos high school. When the carabineros arrived, they threw stones and other objects at them.
In San Felipe, at around 00.30am, some 30 hooded individuals set fire to barricades on the corner of Dardignac and Duco streets, where a group violated the metal shutters of the ‘Cabrini Hermanos (Brothers)’ fruit company and got into the shop, causing damages and taking with them plastic containers to use as barricades. Two hours later, at 02.30am, another group of hooded individuals formed a blockade at the 35th km of Route 60 with barricades, effectively cutting off San Felipe with Los Andes. At the arrival of the carabineros there were confrontations, and one cop was injured by a stone.
In Rancagua, at around 01.40am, a group of hooded individuals set fire to tires at the junction of El Sol with Uruguay avenues, trying to gain access to a Santa Isabel supermarket. Generalized clashes with police units ensued at the location.
In regions like Talca, Curico and Valdivia, after midnight barricades were set alight and there were more clashes with the police. In Curico three parked vehicles were torched, one of which had been reported stolen.
A total of 27 people were detained across the Chilean State during the night of riots prior to the 11th. The majority were accused of disorders (public order offences), some for criminal damage to police vehicles and others for injuring cops.
• The beginning of Tuesday 11th
From 07.00am, in the middle of the morning rush-hour, around 30 hooded individuals lit up barricades on the eastern end of 11 de Septiembre avenue, outside the Lastarria high school in the neighbourhood of Providencia.
When the carabineros arrived, the youths threw rocks at them. The police used large quantities of tear gas and water cannon to disperse the rioters, forcing them to retreat to the school building.
The fascist mayor of Providencia ordered the immediate eviction of that lyceum, which had been squatted by high-school students within the framework of the student mobilizations. After the eviction 10 youths were detained, before being quickly released. After several hours the high school was reoccupied.
In the centre of Santiago hooded individuals set fire to barricades outside the Dario Salas high school on España avenue, where other clashes with police were registered. Later carabineros carried out an eviction of the school which was being occupied by more than 70 students.
During the morning, hooded individuals set up burning barricades on the northern access to the Juan Pablo II bridge that connects Concepción with San Pedro de la Paz, before fleeing the area.
Later another group set fire to barricades outside the Bío Bío University (UBB) and the Federico Santa María Technical University (UTFSM) of Hualpén.
At around 13.30pm, outside the UBB, hooded individuals blockaded Collao avenue to later confront Special Forces with stones and molotov cocktails.
Hooded individuals outside the UTFSM also cut traffic flow with burning tires on Las Golondrinas avenue in the district of Hualpén, where there were more clashes with Special Forces.
An incendiary device was found inside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago
In the afternoon of the 11th, units of the Police Special Operations Group (GOPE) arrived at the Metropolitan Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas in central Santiago. The alert was given by an official of the cathedral, who had found a suspicious bag inside the third confession box.
The police evacuated the area and created a perimeter. In the end, a GOPE team confirmed it was an incendiary device and deactivated it, before removing it from the building in an explosive-resistant receptacle.
The device comprised of a can with five litres of fuel and potassium chlorate, including an electronic activation system made from a timer connected to a battery and a light bulb, having no cover and its bare filaments in contact with the flammable substance.
No pamphlets or any responsibility claim were found on the scene.
• Night of the 11th
As always happens at this time, the majority of people try to arrive home early, as the public transport buses halt their services as soon as it starts to get dark, and with the arrival of the night numerous flaming barricades illuminate the streets and avenues. It is for this reason that any report of goings-on will always remain incomplete given the great quantity of focal points of conflict that occur around the city.
At the same time, many people who go out onto the streets only do so to watch on the street battles and hang out close to the barricades, as there are areas where there are not so many clashes but people still set barricades ablaze.
For those who do choose to participate in the riots, there are also a whole range of motivations, almost as large as the quantity of barricades.
During the night of September 11th, there were power cuts to many Santiago neighbourhoods as a result of attacks to electricity transformers (cadenazos, a method of sabotaging power lines or transformers using chains). This situation was replicated in numerous localities and regions across the Chilean State.
The first barricades were being reported by around 20.00pm in the centre of Santiago. After a demonstration close to the Víctor Jara stadium (former ‘Estadio Chile’, which was a detention centre in the military dictatorship) the city’s main artery, La Alameda, was barricaded leading to standoffs with the cops.
In the commune of Estación Central, specifically in Villa Francia, barricades were set ablaze on the 5 de Abril avenue and its surroundings, leading to strong clashes with police where hooded individuals used stones, molotov cocktails and a great quantity of firearms against the police and their vehicles, with a carabinero being injured in the clashes. The Press was also targeted in the attacks, with a journalist from Chilevisión hit by buckshot in the leg.
In the township of Los Nogales, in the commune of Estación Central, a 16-year-old youth was injured by a bullet and evacuated to hospital in a serious state. According to reports from family members, those who fired were other youths of the area that had problems with him.
In the township of La Pincoya, in the commune of Huechuraba, various barricades were erected and set on fire along the Recoleta avenue and its surroundings, with hooded individuals confronting the police with a huge amount of firearms, as well as molotovs. Three luxury vehicles which had been stolen from another part of Santiago were also set alight there.
Also, in this commune a carabinero was hit by a bottle of paint on his face, causing him serious injury to his eye. Hooded individuals also showered the 54th carabineros police station with bullets.
In the commune of Peñalolen, there were violent clashes with the police and a large quantity of barricades in the sector of Lo Hermida.
In the township of La Victoria, in the neighbourhood of Pedro Aguirre Cerda, confrontations and barricades were ongoing in the area. Here, also, a carabinero was injured by a bullet in his leg.
In the neighbourhood of La Pintana a large amount of burning barricades were erected; it was at one of these in Bahía Catalina avenue that a Route E Transantiago bus was set on fire in its totality, after the driver had left the vehicle and it had been parked across the highway to reinforce a barricade. The 13th carabineros police station was also targeted with stones.
During the night there were many areas where attacks and looting were reported. The supermarkets were the hardest hit. In Conchalí protesters attacked a Copec service station, totally destroying some of the fuel dispensers and other objects at the location. Meanwhile, a large ‘Res’ butcher’s shop was destroyed after breaking its metal shutters on Santa Raquel avenue in the neighbourhood of La Florida.
According to the transport system, around 415 buses of the Transantiago public company were damaged, five of which were torched.
In many other regions there were also large-scale riots. For instance, in Concepción several clashes broke out with frequent use of molotov cocktails, and one of the strongest was in the sector of Agüita de la Perdiz, which ended with an attack on a pharmacy store and on faculties of the University of Concepción.
In Valparaíso barricades and clashes were recorded along the Argentina avenue in the city centre, to the entry to the city of Agua Santa where hooded individuals created street barricades and confronted police lines with molotovs, while also attacking the headquarters of the UCV Televisión network.
In Puerto Montt, after 20.00pm, some 25 hooded individuals set tires ablaze on the highway of the international route Puerto Montt–Pargua. The route was cut off for hours, and a police vehicle was also attacked with stones. At this spot pamphlets were left in memory of the murdered comrade Claudia López.
During the night of September 11th alone, 255 detentions were recorded nationwide. All those arrested were released the next day (Wednesday morning, September 12th), even though several were received certain precautionary measures.
The day also ended with 26 injured carabineros, five of the scum seriously.
A pig shot dead in the confrontations
“They’re going to see… All the bullets will be returned!”
Without doubt, the event that left its biggest mark on a day of street violence was the justice served to second corporal Cristián Martínez, 30-years-old, carabineros’ motorist of the 49th police station of Quilicura in the northern sector of Santiago.
Just past midnight, the policeman found himself next to a carabineros’ line which was trying to quell disorders and attack barricades in a square of Parinacota neighbourhood, in the commune of Quilicura. Close to the square there was also a supermarket that was under threat of being looted. The police had been receiving stones and gunshots at this moment from different points, and a bullet managed to squeeze itself in the space between the cop’s bullet-proof jacket and armpit, reaching the thorax. His colleagues tried in vain to take him to a nearby hospital but it was in between their wails and desperation that they gave light to a new martyr, number 1039 of the distasteful institution of the carabineros, who died in defense of social peace.
The prosecutor that took the investigation attempted to go straight to the location of the martyrly deed, but a horde of people attacked the police vehicles he was travelling in, which forced him to change car and travel in an armoured truck of the carabineros. Agents of the Police Special Operations Group (GOPE) were dispatched to the area where the officer fell, in order to guard the work of the investigations as gunshots were still resounded along its narrow streets.
At around 5am, when the township of Parinacota had been besieged by carabineros, the first raids began. The police were basing their investigation on a CCTV video which showed some youths taking the carabinero’s helmet and shield, equipment which had remained at the site after the shootout.
On Wednesday (the 12th) a 16-year-old youth was arrested and accused of firing against the bastard, a claim he denies, saying that they are blaming him because they do not know who actually fired the shot due to the amount of firearms in the same sector. The youth remained in custody, and his first court hearing was rescheduled for Thursday, September 13th.
Update from our comrades of Liberación Total – October 2nd, 2012:
The 16-year-old B.H., nicknamed ‘Rat’, accused of shooting at the cop, is being held in the San Joaquín closed centre (juvenile prison) of the Chilean National Service for Minors (SENAME), awaiting trial after the 80 days of preliminary investigation. The young arrestee is being linked to the cop’s death primarily because he allegedly showed up in a surveillance video with other street kids carrying a police helmet and a shield, items left behind at the scene after the cop had been taken to hospital by his colleagues. The kid, who declared he’s innocent, has a criminal record for robbery, theft and possession of weapons. At the moment of his arrest, ‘Rat’ is supposed to have said there were a lot of guns at the scene, so any bullet could have killed the cop. Furthermore, he stated he’s a thief but hates drug-dealers. The last comment came after the mass media speculated that armed drug-lords might have had the policeman killed.
To contextualize the particular date and places: Many Santiago surroundings are very poor, and drug trafficking is abundant. Ever since childhood, a lot of young people steal and make their lives in the streets, going in and out of youth detention centres. Every ‘September 11th’ not only anarchists or anti-authoritarians but all kind of people hit the streets (except for bourgeoisie), such as drug traffickers who like to test their armaments, juvenile delinquents who hate the police and want to shoot at them, other armed groups, and so forth. It also depends on the neighbourhood; some of them are much politicized, while others are really not (in the latter, barricades are often set on fire just to burn down trash and things on the street, but not even a single clash with cops occurs).