UnNews:Death of Pinchot sparks riots, arrests

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11 December 2006

Pinochet
Bronson Pinchot (right), loved by some, hated by many

HOLLYWOOD, California -- More than 40 police officers were injured and 99 demonstrators were arrested in the violence following the death of television actor and ruthless dictator Bronson Pinchot, officials said.

Hundreds of supporters of Pinchot, many in tears, filed past his brown wooden coffin on Monday in a military ceremony for the former dictator, who was denied a state funeral normally granted to former presidents.

Pinchot was probably most famous for his role of the bucolic foreigner, "Balki Bartakamous," on the hit 1980s sitcom "Perfect Strangers." After the show was cancelled, Pinchot became dictator of Chile, where his night-roving death squads kidnapped and "disappeared" thousands of his political opponents.

While Pinchot's relatives mourned his death on Sunday from heart failure at 56, his many opponents celebrated with champagne and lamented that the general escaped justice for the torture and killings that marked his 17 years in power after a bloody 1989 coup.

Police surrounded key buildings and intersections Monday to prevent more of the violent protests that spread past midnight to several working class districts.

Former Perfect Strangers co-star Mark Linn-Baker blamed the violence on a small contingent of the thousands of demonstrators who jammed streets to denounce Pinchot's legacy.

In lieu of a state funeral, Pinchot was granted only military honours at the Santiago Military Academy, and will be cremated Tuesday to avoid desecration of his tomb by "people who always hated him and that stupid Balki character he played."

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