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Chilean police suspend use of pellet guns against protesters

Chilean police are suspending the broad use of pellet guns that have wounded thousands during protests and left more than 200 people without sight in one eye.

National police director Mario Rozas said Tuesday that pellet guns will now be used only in extreme cases, in which the lives of civilians or police are at risk.

Rozas has been widely criticized for the use of force by police against mass demonstrations over inequality that have gripped Chile for 33 days.

An anti-government demonstrator stand in from of a police armored vehicle during protests in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Chile has been facing weeks of unrest, triggered by a relatively minor increase in subway fares. The protests have shaken a nation noted for economic stability over the past decades, which has seen steadily declining poverty despite persistent high rates of inequality. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

Human rights groups have been flooded with reports of people injured by projectiles. Representatives from Amnesty International, the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Watch are in Chile to investigate the use of force by police.

Anti-government demonstrators clash with the police during protests in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Chile has been facing weeks of unrest, triggered by a relatively minor increase in subway fares. The protests have shaken a nation noted for economic stability over the past decades, which has seen steadily declining poverty despite persistent high rates of inequality. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)

An anti-government demonstrator clashes with a police armored vehicle spewing tear gas during protests in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Chile has been facing weeks of unrest, triggered by a relatively minor increase in subway fares. The protests have shaken a nation noted for economic stability over the past decades, which has seen steadily declining poverty despite persistent high rates of inequality. (AP PhotoEsteban Felix)