.- A mob of masked protesters set fire Jan. 3 to a Catholic church dedicated to serving the national police in Santiago, Chile, while an anti-government demonstration was in progress in nearby Plaza Italia.
According to local reports, a group of masked individuals surrounded Saint Francis Borgia Church, located two blocks away from the plaza, around 8 p.m., setting fire to a vehicle parked outside and then starting fires inside the church and an attached building.
Three companies of firemen arrived at the scene, but the masked mob blocked their passage and they were unable to put out the fire in a timely manner, according to reports.
The church was built in 1876 and was originally the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel of Saint Borgia Hospital. In November 1975, it was set aside to serve the spiritual needs of the Carabineros, the national police force.