Fires Burn at Historic Santiago Church as Protesters and Police Clash

Parts of the Iglesia San Francisco de Borja, a church built in 1876 that has become the Chilean National Police Force’s place of worship, burned on Friday, January 3, as new clashes broke out between demonstrators and police in Santiago, Chile.

The official account of the Chiliean national police force, Carabineros de Chile, shared this video on Friday writing (translated from Spanish): “We deeply regret to report that the San Francisco de Borja Institutional Church, where our more than one thousand martyrs were dismissed, is burned by a mob of vandals. The temple was built in 1876 and was handed over to Carabineros more than four decades ago.”

According to reports, the church is used for religious services of uniformed police. The demonstrators were protesting in the Plaza Italia when they rioted near the church, lighting a vehicle on fire before attacking the building. At least one video posted to Twitter shows protesters throwing flaming items into the building. It was not clear the extent of the damage to the complex.

The protests in Chile have been ongoing since October 2019. Credit: Carabineros de Chile via Storyful