Chile’s President Gabriel Boric on Friday pardoned 12 people connected with widespread protests against inequality in 2019 that left more than 30 dead.
Political factions and organizations had called for the release of the people connected to violent protests that shook the South American country. As a candidate, Boric had talked about pardoning some of those convicted for less violent crimes after the protests.
The list of those pardoned included men between the ages of 21 and 38 involved in various crimes such as looting, robbery, handling Molotov cocktails, and others.
The move was celebrated by political allies with senator Fabiola Campillai, who was blinded during the protests before running for office, calling it a “humanitarian act.”
Political opponents decried the move.
“It’s a slap in the face to all Chileans that want more security,” right-wing senator Gonzalo de la Carrera said on Twitter, saying the move disrupts negotiations currently under way to create a national safety council.
Boric also pardoned a member of a rebel group on Friday for a total of 13 pardons. Jorge Mateluna, 48, is linked to the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR), had been sentenced to 16 years in prison after being accused of participating in an assault on a branch in Santiago in June 2013.