Mourners demand justice as shot street artist buried in Chile

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SANTIAGO, Feb 9, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Around 100 mourners demanded justice on
Monday at the funeral of a street artist killed by Chilean police during a
search.

Juggler Francisco Martinez, 27, was fatally shot by an officer after
refusing to cooperate with a police identity check in the south of the
country.

He was buried in the capital Santiago at a ceremony attended by family
members, friends and other street artists who played music and chanted,
“Justice for Francisco,” as well as slogans against the police and the
government of President Sebastian Pinera.

The funeral turned violent as mourners attacked press teams covering the
event, forcing them to flee under a hail of blows and rocks, pictures
published by local media showed.

Martinez died in Panguipulli on Friday, some 530 miles (850 kilometers)
south of Santiago.

He had refused to cooperate with officers checking identity cards while he
was juggling with swords on a busy street.

The check resulted in a dispute that ended with one of the agents firing at
the street artist, according to a video widely circulated by local channels
and on social media.

As the funeral took place, the Panguipulli prosecutor’s office filed
charges of homicide against the policeman who shot Martinez.

Judge Felipe Munoz rejected the defense’s argument that the policeman had
acted in “legitimate defense” and ordered him to be put under full house
arrest after pronouncing that “the freedom of the accused constitutes a
danger to society.”

The fatal shooting sparked indignation across the country and violent
protests in Panguipulli, where demonstrators torched a public building.

Chile’s security forces were already under fire for the violent reaction to
months of protests against social injustice that exploded in October 2019 and
resulted in accusations of human rights abuses.