Lunes 11 noviembre de 2019 | Publicado a las 12:03 · Actualizado a las 10:43
US citizen arrested in Chile after shooting protestors claiming self-defense

US-born citizen and free-market enthusiast John Cobin was arrested on Sunday after shooting protestors in Re√Īaca (central Chile) amid the ongoing unrest that has wracked the country since 18 October. One person was injured.

The Government announced that it would file a lawsuit against the 56-year-old Californian economist, who is set to face charges by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Mr Cobin posted a video on his Youtube account to explain the incident and to affirm that he did not do anything wrong.

“I was in fear for my life today when I went down to the gun range to shoot the gun I legally hold with a transporting license I legally have in Chile”, he started.

“When I was going into downtown Re√Īaca, I swung by the beach and as I did so my car was surrounded by a mob of people and they started shaking the car when I drove through them carefully. I did not go faster, run anybody over, but I wasn’t going to stay and let them do something to my pick-up truck”, Cobin added.

“In order to defend myself, I took my gun out and loaded it (…) and prepared myself for being assaulted. I don’t remember all the circumstances exactly, but I had to actually fire two shots at first before they all started coming running after me when I had to stop again and shot twice again.”

“I accidentally, apparently, hit somebody in the thigh. A man, I don’t know who that is. Now the police are telling me I have to be at fear of my own life”, he added.

Later, Cobin said he hoped lawyers could plead his case in court, even though he firmly believed his actions should not condemned.

“I did not do anything wrong. I legally have the rights to carry my gun with me. I was in my car and they attacked me”, he said.

Nevertheless, unlike the US, civilians in Chile cannot take their registered guns to the street, as the Uniformed Armed Police is the only public entity allowed to do so.

According to witnesses, Cobin refused to descend from the vehicle and dance in front of protestors in a trend that has spread throughout the country: “el que baila pasa”.

It involves streets being blocked by crowds, with drivers asked to dance in front of them to continue their journeys.

Cobin is a highly controversial figure. In 2013, in an article posted by The Clinic, he called himself “the most neoliberal person in Chile”. In fact, he moved his family to Chile in the search for lower taxes.

He also praised Augusto Pinochet’s legacy, the dictator who ruled Chile with an iron fist from 1973 to 1990, and highlighted the economic reforms introduced by the so-called Chicago Boys, the same initiatives currently critised by Chileans.

UPDATE: Cobin will spend 90 days in police custody.

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