Four Chileans were reported killed by late today in the second day of violent national protests against the government of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Truckers stayed off the roads and many shops closed.
Interior Minister Sergio Onofre Jarpa acknowledged in a press conference today that the opposition protest had "provoked grave damage in the normal activity of the country." Yesterday, three persons were killed in violent police repression of neighborhood demonstrations, including a French priest, Andre Jarlan.
Today, authorities confirmed that a student and an Army lieutenant serving with the secret police had been killed in Copiapo, north of Santiago, during demonstrations at a university. Two other demonstrators were reported killed in Santiago.
Traffic in Santiago was sharply reduced following an opposition call for citizens to remain in their homes during the day. Trucks failed to deliver produce to markets and many shops closed after 2 p.m. However, downtown Santiago and other cities remained crowded with shoppers and workers through much of the day. Opposition leaders had hoped to trigger an undeclared national strike.
This afternoon, demonstrators built barricades and battled police in several poor Santiago neighborhoods. In the district of La Victoria, residents held an emotional mass today for Jarlan and another man killed yesterday. Several other persons were reported wounded this afternoon after police entered the area in force.
By this morning, police said, more than 350 people had been arrested in Santiago and 49 wounded.
Opposition leaders had hoped to revitalize their lagging movement against Pinochet's government. "The protest has been a complete success," said Mario Sharpe, the acting president of the Democratic Alliance, a broad political coalition.
Government officials maintained that the demonstrations had served only a small minority interested in promoting violence. "This doesn't help the government," Jarpa said, "but it does help the extremists."
Authorities said they would prosecute organizers of the protest, the ninth in the past 16 months. The government has moved to censor or shut down almost all media reporting opposition views.
In a separate announcement, officials of the church-sponsored Vicariate of Solidarity said their medical teams had treated 42 persons for beatings by police following a midday demonstration yesterday in the city's Plaza de Armas.
The greatest damage to the government from the protests appeared today to result from the shooting of the priest, who had lived in the poor neighborhood for 18 months. Jarlan was struck in the head by a bullet last night as he sat in his second-story room at the rectory.
Witnesses and Jarlan's superior said Jarlan was killed after police stopped near the rectory and fired down the street at protesters and journalists. However, Jarpa maintained that Jarlan had not been shot by police, adding that the type of bullet that struck him was not issued to police.
French Ambassador Leon Bouvier delivered a note to the Foreign Ministry asking for a full investigation, and the local Roman Catholic archdiocese filed a criminal complaint. Santiago Archbishop Juan Francisco Fresno called the event "a shame for our country."
The Vicariate of Solidarity, long Chile's most important human rights organization, indirectly blamed the government for the deaths in La Victoria. Said Enrique Palet, a Vicariate official, "Without a repressive presence of police we would not have to lament the death of Father Jarlan."