Chile: Police shooting of street artist sparks violent protests

Chile: Police shooting of street artist sparks violent protests
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By Mark Armstrong with AP, AFP
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The fatal police shooting of a street performer in Chile sparks violent protests in the capital Santiago and calls for reform on social media.

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The fatal shooting of a street artist in Chile led to protesters clashing with police in the capital Santiago over the weekend.

The events were sparked by the death of a juggler in the southern town of Panguipulli, around 850km south of Santiago.

He was shot in a dispute after refusing to cooperate with a police search.

Video of the incident was widely shared on local channels and social media.

"We regret the loss of this young juggler. I hope that justice is done," Ricardo Valdivia, Panguipulli's mayor, told Radio Cooperativa.

Witnesses to the shooting started to shout at the officers, leading to violent demonstrations and several buildings were set alight.

In Santiago, protesters pelted police with various objects and were met with water cannon in response.

Local police backed the officer who shot the 27-year-old, claiming he fired to "safeguard his own life" in "legitimate self-defence."

Chileans took to social media to call for reforms and condemn the shooting.

The government ordered the police to hand over all records of the incident to the Public Ministry, which has launched an investigation.

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