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But a short time later the protests escalated when a large group of hooded protesters began to plunder a church in the area known as the La Asuncion and removed almost all iconography inside. Pictured: two demonstrators run through the streets with a statue of a priest

Protesters plunder churches in Chile and burn images of Jesus in the streets while months of protesting inequality becomes violent

  • Plaza Italia in Santiago has been used as the main gathering place for Mass for three weeks demonstrations
  • But yesterday the protest escalated when a hooded group began to plunder the La Asuncion church in the area
  • Pews, pianos, religious paintings and iconography were all carried out and set on fire
  • National protests, with different demands, have so far left 20 dead and another 2,500 injured
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Protesters have started plundering churches in Chile while the protests continue.

Thousands of people had gathered near the site in Plaza Italia in Santiago, which was used as the main site of the mass protests for three weeks.

The crowd sang, carried banners, and waved Chilean national flags while others flashed the lights on their cell phones.

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But a short time later the protests escalated when a large group of hooded protesters began to plunder a church in the area known as the La Asuncion and removed almost all iconography inside. Pictured: two demonstrators run through the streets with a statue of a priest

But a short time later the protests escalated when a large group of hooded protesters began to plunder a church in the area known as the La Asuncion and removed almost all iconography inside. Pictured: two demonstrators run through the streets with a statue of a priest

Protesters dragged pews, statues of Jesus and other religious iconography through the doors of the historic building before they damaged it

Protesters dragged pews, statues of Jesus and other religious iconography through the doors of the historic building before they damaged it

Protesters dragged pews, statues of Jesus and other religious iconography through the doors of the historic building before they damaged it

Thousands of people had gathered near the Plaza Italia site in Santiago, which was used as the main site for mass protests for three weeks. The crowd sang, carried banners and waved Chilean national flags while others flashed the lights on their cell phones

Thousands of people had gathered near the Plaza Italia site in Santiago, which was used as the main site for mass protests for three weeks. The crowd sang, carried banners and waved Chilean national flags while others flashed the lights on their cell phones

Thousands of people had gathered near the Plaza Italia site in Santiago, which was used as the main site for mass protests for three weeks. The crowd sang, carried banners and waved Chilean national flags while others flashed the lights on their cell phones

But a short time later the protests escalated when a large group of black-clad demonstrators began to plunder a church in the area known as La Asuncion.

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They were photographed by dragging pews, statues of Jesus, religious cloths and other iconography through the doors of the historic building before setting fire to many of them.

Smoke was also seen from the nearby headquarters of the Pedro de Valdivia University, although it is not known whether the protesters had also started the fire because the authorities said they are still investigating the cause.

The church was left completely uncovered when the group worked together to carry out the larger objects, including a canvas of the Virgin Mary with a baby Jesus (photo)

The church was left completely uncovered when the group worked together to carry out the larger objects, including a canvas of the Virgin Mary with a baby Jesus (photo)

The church was left completely uncovered when the group worked together to carry out the larger objects, including a canvas of the Virgin Mary with a baby Jesus (photo)

Many of the demonstrations of the past 22 days were peaceful, but now they seem to be getting more violent. Pictured: two protesters remove a piano from the church

Many of the demonstrations of the past 22 days were peaceful, but now they seem to be getting more violent. Pictured: two protesters remove a piano from the church

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Many of the demonstrations of the past 22 days were peaceful, but now they seem to be getting more violent. Pictured: two protesters remove a piano from the church

Many of the religious decorations dragged out of the church were subsequently set on fire. Pictured: a pew covered in flames in the middle of the Chilean streets

Many of the religious decorations dragged out of the church were subsequently set on fire. Depicted: a pew covered in flames in the middle of the Chilean streets

Many of the religious decorations dragged out of the church were subsequently set on fire. Pictured: a pew covered in flames in the middle of the Chilean streets

Many of the demonstrations of the past 22 days started relatively peacefully, but now they seem to be getting more violent.

Rock-throwing protesters clashed with riot police shortly after the church was looted when authorities responded with tear gas and water cannons.

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The unrest began last month during a subway rate that led students to jump turnstiles in protest, which gradually escalated and spread with a wide range of demands.

The requirements include improvements in education, healthcare and a widely criticized pension system in one of the richest but most socially unequal countries in Latin America.

Rock-throwing protesters clashed with riot police shortly after the church was looted because a demonstrator is using a slingshot against the authorities (photo)

Rock-throwing protesters clashed with riot police shortly after the church was looted because a demonstrator is using a slingshot against the authorities (photo)

Rock-throwing protesters clashed with riot police shortly after the church was looted because a demonstrator is using a slingshot against the authorities (photo)

The riot police responded by deploying tear gas and water cannons (photo) to destroy the crowd of protesters trying to defend themselves with corrugated iron and covering their faces

The riot police responded by deploying tear gas and water cannons (photo) to destroy the crowd of protesters trying to defend themselves with corrugated iron and covering their faces

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The riot police responded by deploying tear gas and water cannons (photo) to destroy the crowd of protesters trying to defend themselves with corrugated iron and covering their faces

The long-running protests have left at least 20 dead and another 2,500 injured and forced the cancellation of two major international summits in Santiago. Pictured: protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the police

The long-running protests have left at least 20 dead and another 2,500 injured and forced the cancellation of two major international summits in Santiago. Pictured: protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the police

The long-running protests have left at least 20 dead and another 2,500 injured and forced the cancellation of two major international summits in Santiago. Pictured: protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the police

A 17-year-old student, Ginette Perez, who joined the crowd who flooded the streets this week, said: & # 39; We still haven't achieved anything, so we continue to protest. & # 39;

The Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, announced measures earlier this week to increase security and tighten up the sanctions against vandalism after the protracted protests that resulted in at least 20 deaths.

An estimated 2,500 people were injured in the protests that also led to the cancellation of two major international summits in Santiago.

Pinera is expected to rearrange his cabinet and announce an increase in the minimum wage.

The requirements include improvements in education, healthcare and a widely criticized pension system in one of the richest but most socially unequal countries in Latin America. Pictured: a demonstrator covers his face with a gas mask while throwing a smoke bomb at the riot police

The requirements include improvements in education, healthcare and a widely criticized pension system in one of the richest but most socially unequal countries in Latin America. Pictured: a demonstrator covers his face with a gas mask while throwing a smoke bomb at the riot police

The requirements include improvements in education, healthcare and a widely criticized pension system in one of the richest but most socially unequal countries in Latin America. Pictured: a demonstrator covers his face with a gas mask while throwing a smoke bomb at the riot police

The Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, announced measures earlier this week to increase security and tighten sanctions for vandalism. Depicted: protesters cover themselves from the riot police in Santiago while a fire rages on the street

The Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, announced measures earlier this week to increase security and tighten sanctions for vandalism. Depicted: protesters cover themselves from the riot police in Santiago while a fire rages on the street

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The Chilean president, Sebastian Pinera, announced measures earlier this week to increase security and tighten sanctions for vandalism. Depicted: protesters cover themselves from the riot police in Santiago while a fire rages on the street

A 17-year-old student, Ginette Perez, who joined the crowd that flooded the streets this week, said: & # 39; We still haven't achieved anything, so we continue to protest. & # 39; Pictured: La Asuncion church that was destroyed

A 17-year-old student, Ginette Perez, who joined the crowd that flooded the streets this week, said: & # 39; We still haven't achieved anything, so we continue to protest. & # 39; Pictured: La Asuncion church that was destroyed

A 17-year-old student, Ginette Perez, who joined the crowd that flooded the streets this week, said: & # 39; We still haven't achieved anything, so we continue to protest. & # 39; Pictured: La Asuncion church that was destroyed

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