Unrest in Chile continues following curfew and suspension of fare hike

Elias Hubbard
October 21, 2019

President Pinera, a centre-right businessman, announced he would reverse public transport fare increases which had caused widespread protests after they were announced on Oct 6.

Santiago governor Karla Rubilar confirmed that three people died in a supermarket in the capital that was set on fire by demonstrators on Saturday.

He said he had "listened with humility to the voice of my compatriots", but added, "nobody has the right to act with brutal criminal violence".

The spasm of unrest turn out to be introduced about by a hike in metro fares, which elevated from 800 to 830 peso ($1.13 to $1.17) for height-hour shuttle, after a 20-peso hike in January.

Chile doesn't produce its own oil and must import its fuel, leading to high prices for gasoline, electricity and elevated public transportation costs.

The Chilean government has now suspended the rise in fares in the aftermath of the protests.

Hundreds have taken to the streets of Santiago and surrounding cities in recent days to protest against the rising cost of public transport, vandalizing metro stations and even setting an electrical company building on fire.

Now the subway services are non-operational and a curfew has been put in place in Santiago.

Authorities said that in all, 78 stations along with infrastructure and equipment had been damaged in a system that has always been a point of pride for Chileans.

The conservative Piñera vowed that those responsible for the violence "are going to pay for their deeds".

The interior minister said he could not rule out extending the state of emergency declared for Santiago to Valparaíso, Bío Bío, Coquimbo and O´Higgins regions.

The military presence was part of a state of emergency declared by President Sebastian Pinera in response to student-led protests on Friday that paralysed the city.

The pictures were met with fury on social media by commentators who said they were emblematic of a president - a billionaire businessman who introduced credit cards to Chile - who was out of touch with ordinary Chileans.

"The people who govern the country seem to be living in a different world from the rest of us", said Enrique Araya, a 49-year-old attorney, as he banged pots with his family in front of a subway station.

Walmart said in a statement that 60 of its stores in Santiago and six other cities suffered looting.

AFP video showed security forces blasting a crowd with water cannon, and riot police wrestling young protesters into vans.

The Santiago Metro, at 140 kilometers (90 miles), is the apt and most novel in South The US and a provide of large delight for Chileans.

But others expressed fury at the commuter chaos and not being able to return to their homes.

Louis de Grange, president of the state Metro S.A. company, told Canal 13 the "brutal destruction" of Santiago's metro service had caused more than Dollars 300 million in damage.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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