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Chile protests mar music festival’s opening night

Image copyright AFP Image caption Riot police clashed with masked protesters at several locations Violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters have overshadowed the opening night of Latin America’s biggest festival in the Chilean resort of Viña del Mar. Masked demonstrators attacked shops and the O’Higgins Hotel, where many of the artists are staying. The…

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AFP

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Riot police clashed with masked protesters at several locations

Violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters have overshadowed the opening night of Latin America’s biggest festival in the Chilean resort of Viña del Mar. Masked demonstrators attacked shops and the O’Higgins Hotel, where many of the artists are staying. The local governor denounced their actions as “vandalism”.The clashes are the latest show of discontent after four months of protests against economic inequality.At the height of the protests in October, Chile pulled out of hosting two major international summits, the COP25 climate summit and the Apec trade forum, for fear of violence. What happened?A group of about 150 masked protesters set alight at least seven cars in front of the O’Higgins hotel on Sunday.

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Reuters

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The O’Higgins hotel was one of the targets of masked protesters

Police deployed water cannons and at around 20: 00 local time (23: 00 GMT), guests were temporarily evacuated from the hotel. Witnesses said hotel staff wielding fire extinguishers had earlier prevented protesters from entering the hotel by force. There were also clashes near the entrance to the Quinta Vergara park, where the annual Viña del Mar music festival is held. The masked protesters later moved to the municipal offices, where they smashed windows and broke down doors. More than a dozen shops were also looted or damaged.Among the shops which came under attack were two car dealerships, where more cars were set alight. Fifteen people were arrested and 23 police officers
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