20 Hurt in Disturbance at Chilean Prison

SANTIAGO – Fourteen inmates and six guards were injured Tuesday during a disturbance at a prison in the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta, official sources told Efe.

A special unit of the Gendarmeria prison service eventually subdued about a hundred inmates who managed to get onto the roof of the prison, where they burned mattresses and hurled stones at people below, media outlets said.

At the same time, a contingent of Carabineros – Chile’s militarized police – used tear gas to disperse prisoners’ families gathered outside the penitentiary.

Four of the injured inmates were taken to the Regional Hospital in Antofagasta, while the wounded guards were treated at the city’s Military Hospital.

The prisoners were demanding better treatment and protesting the Dec. 8 fire at Santiago’s San Miguel Prison that killed 81 inmates.

Roughly 800 of the 1,300 inmates at the Antofagasta facility have been on hunger strike since the deadly blaze in the capital, according to sources in the Gendarmeria.

The tragedy at San Miguel, in which overcrowding was a major factor, has spurred protests of various kinds at prisons throughout Chile. EFE

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