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Documentary maker assaulted by mayor's security guards

(OLA/IFEX) - On 5 May 2010, in the community of Ñuñoa, Santiago province, in the Metropolitan Santiago Region, documentary maker Jaime Díaz Lavanchy was verbally assaulted by the local mayor, Pedro Sabat, and attacked by his security guards and supporters, who also damaged his film equipment.

The incident took place at the end of a municipal council meeting. Díaz Lavanchy asked Sabat a question about the lack of attention given to earthquake victims in the area. The mayor was taken aback and, in an obvious display of rage, insulted and tried to hit Díaz Lavanchy. Security guards and supporters intervened to assault the filmmaker.

"I was recording a council session as part of a documentary I am making on the neighbourhood and the consequences of the earthquake and neglect towards the people. I was assaulted by municipal 'guards' without any more provocation than simply asking an 'inconvenient' question. The guards punched and kicked me and broke some of my camera equipment," said Díaz Lavanchy.

Díaz Lavanchy is the writer and filmmaker of "La Revolución de los Pingüinos", as well as the spokesperson for "Asamblea de Vecinos de La Villa Olímpica", which brings together people affected by the earthquake.

According to reports, Sabat was previously reported to the Comptroller General of the Republic; six of the eight councilors in Ñuñoa have complained of occurrences of mistreatment, insult and humiliation.

Díaz Lavanchy made public his report of the incident at a press conference where he shared a video account of the attack.

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