Human rights organizations and feminist and LGBT organizations denounce dozens of cases committed by the police and the army since the beginning of the social movement in mid-October.
"Zero tolerance of violence against women. " By posting this message on Monday 11 November on Twitter, Isabel Plá, the Chilean Minister of Women and Gender Equality, unleashed a wave of anger. "How many women were you sexually assaulted by the police? " an indignant user of the social network is indignant. "Give us service and resign", enjoin another.
The minister, whose portrait is regularly posted on the walls of Santiago, the Chilean capital, accompanied by the inscription "Plá outside! " has been under fire since the beginning of the social movement in mid-October. While accusations of police violence are more numerous and publicized, Chileans blame the government of Sebastián Piñera – the right-wing president in power since early 2018 – his lack of reaction.
In one month, five people have been killed by law enforcement and more than 2,000 injured, including 200 with serious eye damage. The latest report presented by the National Institute of Human Rights (INDH), an independent public body, is staggering. "The Chilean police have always repressed social movements more strongly than in other countries in the region, says Lucia Dammert, a sociologist at the University of Chile specializing in security issues, but the level of human rights violations we are witnessing today is unprecedented since the military dictatorship (1973-1990). "
Scenes of humiliation
Among the cases identified by the NHRI, the number of victims of sexual violence jumped. In four weeks, at least 93 people, including 23 minors, reported to the "Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment with violence and sexual connotations" committed by carabineros – the Chilean police – and by the army, deployed by the government during the first ten days of the social movement. The NHRI has already submitted about 50 complaints of sexual violence in court.
"There are some illegal practices that come up regularly in testimony all over the country. It's as if the police had institutionalized them "says Danitza Pérez Cáceres, a member of the Association of Feminist Women Lawyers (Abofem) who represents twenty-five people who have reported sexual violence. "Protesters arrested by the police are often forced to undress completely. It's something completely forbidden, both internationally and nationally "says Camila Troncoso, also a member of Abofem.