In the midst of Chile’s brutal altercations between protesters and military forces, violence spilled into the home of Albertina Martínez Burgos, a 38-year-old photographer who had been documenting the government’s attacks on its citizens, especially women. She was found dead in her home in Santiago, Chile last Thursday, November 21. According to El Tribuno, her work covering the last 30 days of protests — including her camera, laptop, and notes — were missing from the crime scene. Prosecutor Deborah Quinta said her office was looking into the case as an “alleged homicide.”
Martínez Burgos, who worked as a freelance photojournalist for the news organization Mega, was active in the protests she was documenting. The organization Ni Unas Menos posted on Instagram that Martínez Burgos was recording the many abuses of the military and police forces against women journalists and protestors, some of which have become particularly violent. “Let us not forget her name, let us not forget her face,” the organization said.
Since the demonstrations began in October, 26 people have died and over 2,300 people have been injured. Protests started after the government raised public transportation fares, a move many said criminalized the poor in one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations. Despite its economic prowess, Chile has the worst rate of income inequality out of the 36 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The movement that began in Chile’s capital of Santiago spread across the country and has become a rallying cry for various issues facing its population, like high costs of education and healthcare. Many protestors are calling for a new constitution that would offer public healthcare and education. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera had originally taken a defensive stance against protestors, but recently, his government has proposed a referendum in April 2020 that would allow Chileans the opportunity to vote on their new constitution. However, protests have continued even as the retaliation by the military has escalated.