Riot at Chilean prison leaves more than 40 injured

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE (BNO NEWS) — More than 40 people were injured on Tuesday when a riot broke out at a prison in northern Chile, authorities said on Wednesday.

Police said 36 prisoners, six prison guards and one police officer sustained injuries during the riot, which happened at a prison in Antofagasta, located about 700 miles (1,130 km) north of Santiago.

The riot began as prisoners demanded the restitution of some benefits such as conjugal visits, which was banned after a fire that killed 81 people at the San Miguel prison on December 8.

On Tuesday, anti-riot police units entered the Antofagasta prison to control approximately one-hundred inmates who managed to reach the roof of the prison facility. The prisoners burned mattresses and hurled stones at the security guards.

After approximately three hours, anti-riot police officers and special forces were able to control the situation and transported the inmates to an isolated space. Four of the injured prisoners were sent to a local hospital while the guards were treated at a military hospital in Antofagasta.

The prison was designed to hold only 680 individuals but currently has more than 1,300 prisoners, according to media reports. About 800 of them are currently on a hunger strike to protest against the poor conditions inside the facility and the overpopulation of it.

Since the devastating fire in San Miguel, other Chilean prisons have reported unrest and demonstrations. The prisons of El Manzano and Quillota recently endured riots in protest on the poor conditions inside the jails.

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