BUENOS AIRES – The death of two people in the Argentine city of Bariloche, after a riot broke out following the suspected slaying of a 15-year-old adolescent by police, sparked an escalation of mob action and clashes with the law.
The incidents began Thursday after the death of Diego Bonefoi, 15, who was apparently slain by a police officer when he tried to escape together with another two teenagers after committing a robbery, according to police officials.
The youth’s death aroused the anger of residents of the neighborhood where he had lived, and when they began throwing stones at the police station where the officer was stationed, violent clashes broke out between the cops and the demonstrators.
Killed in the disturbances were Sergio Cardenas, 28, and Nicolas Carrasco, 16, while another 12 people were injured.
The three deaths stunned the touristic city of Bariloche, located at some 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) southwest of Buenos Aires, and hundreds of people poured into the streets to demonstrate against the cops for being so “quick on the trigger” in the shooting incidents.
Protests reached the boiling point at midday Friday when around 200 people attacked the city’s police headquarters with stones and incendiary bombs, the state news agency Telam said.
Tear gas and the firing of rubber bullets scattered the demonstrators in the downtown area, which in turn provoked the looting and destruction of a number of establishments, about which storekeepers of the area indignantly complained.
The officer suspected of killing Bonefoi was arrested under a court order, but the police headquarters where he was stationed was again attacked on Saturday.
The governor of Rio Negro province – where Bariloche is located – Miguel Saiz, decided to dismiss from his post Capt. Jorge Carrizo, chief of police in whose jurisdiction the riot broke out Thursday morning, along with the four cops who took part in the confrontations.