Demonstrators run during a Workers' Day rally in Santiago, Chile, on May 1, 2022. At least three journalists were shot and injured during that demonstration. (Reuters/Pablo Sanhueza)

Gunfire at Chilean workers’ demonstration injures 3 journalists; 1 in critical condition

Miami, May 4, 2022 — Chilean authorities must thoroughly investigate the shootings of three journalists covering a demonstration and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.

On Sunday, May 1, gunmen opened fire during a Workers’ Day demonstration in the Barrio Meiggs area of Santiago, the capital, as well as during looting that followed the demonstration, injuring at least three members of the press, according to news reports and a statement by the Chilean Journalists Union, an independent professional association of journalists.

Francisca Sandoval, who was covering the demonstration for the local community broadcaster Canal Señal 3 La Victoria, was shot in the face and remains in critical condition at the Posta Central hospital in Santiago, according to those sources.

Fabiola Moreno, a reporter for Radio 7, was shot in the shoulder, and Roberto Caro, a reporter with the community news outlet Piensa Prensa, was shot in the leg, according to those news reports and Chilean Journalists Union President Danilo Ahumada, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. Both journalists received medical treatment and were discharged, Ahumada said.

“Chilean authorities must thoroughly investigate the shootings of three reporters at a Workers’ Day demonstration, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said CPJ Latin America and the Caribbean Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick, in New York. “Protests are consistently one of the most dangerous environments for journalists in Chile, and it is essential that they be allowed to cover demonstrations safely and without fear of violence.”

Shortly after the incident, Chilean police detained two suspects in the shootings, and the prosecutor’s office ordered that they remain under house arrest, according to news reports.

On Monday, the Chilean Investigative Police detained a third suspect, believed to have shot Sandoval, according to press reports and a tweet by the Ministry of Interior.

CPJ called the Chilean Investigative Police for comment at the phone number listed on its official website, but the call did not connect.

[Editors’ Note: The name of Roberto Caro’s outlet in the fourth paragraph has been updated.]