The price of protesting in chile: Your eyes

SANTIAGO(News Agencies) —At least 285 people in Chile have suffered severe eye trauma, mostly from hardened rubber bullets and tear gas canisters fired by Chilean security forces at protesters during the month of unrest. According to the Chilean Ophthalmological Society, that count is expected to rise.

The image of a bandaged eye is now so common it has become a rallying symbol for the protesters in Chile. Even so, the likelihood of such life-altering injury has not deterred protestors.

Chilean police strikers protester.

the police have been blamed for at least six deaths, more than 6,300 arrests, and 2,400 hospitalizations of protesters. Public prosecutors in Chile are now investigating hundreds of cases of alleged abuses by the police, including torture and sexual violence. The damage to infrastructure and businesses is in the billions of dollars.

President Piñera has stood by the police clampdown, claiming that the use of force has been justified in order to maintain order. According to the Chilean police, nearly 1,000 officers have been hospitalized with injuries sustained during protests.

The number of serious eye injuries at the hands of the police has outraged human rights groups and alarmed medical professionals. For at least 12 victims, the damage to the cornea, iris and optic nerve has been so severe that doctors have had to remove the eye completely.

The Yucatan Times

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