Chile: Use of pellets suspended after 270 eye injuries


The head of Chile’s military police announced the suspension of pellet use as an anti-riot tool, except in cases of legitimate defense when a situation represents a death threat.

Mario Rozas said Tuesday the measure will be in place while the pellets are subjected to tests requested from laboratories, Venezuela-based TeleSur reported.

“The restriction will be evaluated when we have in our possession the results of the studies,” Rozas sais.

The decision was made by military police after a study by the Chile University that states pellets are made of 20% rubber and 80% different elements, such as lead.

At least 270 Chileans have suffered an eye injury as a result of the usage of pellets during anti-government protests.

The protests, which began in response to a now-suspended 4% transport fare hike, turned violent Oct. 19.

At least 23 people have since been killed in the protests.

According to the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI), over the last month, more than 6,000 people have been arrested and 2,400 injured

President Sebastian Pinera accepted demands earlier this month to change the Constitution to replace the one dating to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, a demand of protesters who have taken to the streets in recent weeks.

Pinera also announced concessions, including rolling back the fare rise, a rise to the minimum wage and placed a hold on electricity prices until next year in a bid to contain the strife.
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