Chile Protests Continue After Gov't Backs Down on Subway Fare Hike

Cheryl Sanders
October 21, 2019

A state of emergency and curfew remains in effect for six Chilean cities.

The military is due to help police patrol the streets during a declared 15-day state of emergency that allows authorities to restrict people's freedom of movement and their right to assembly.

It is the first time in the post-Pinochet era that troops have been deployed in what has otherwise been one of Latin America's most stable countries.

But there is an undercurrent of frustration with rising health care and utility costs, low pensions and social inequality.

"I have listened with humility to the voice of my compatriots", said Pinera on Saturday evening, announcing the backdown.

"The priority of our government is to ensure public order and the safety of Chileans", Pinera said, as he acknowledged that demonstrators had "good reasons" to protest.

Popular ride-sharing applications including Uber sent messages to customers that they would not be able to operate during the curfew.

At some level of Friday, rampaging protesters clashed with rebellion police in lots of aspects of the capital while the headquarters of the ENEL Chile energy firm and a Banco Chile division - both within town heart - were set on fire and heavily broken.

In a news conference late Saturday, Pinera announced he was dropping plans for the transportation increase.

"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. She warned against a repeat in Chile of the protests and political violence seen in Ecuador and Venezuela in recent months. "Let us be respectful, responsible and have faith in our armed forces".

"The president had been working since very early, concerned and busy with this", ms Perez said.

View of Macul Metro station set on fire by protesters during a mass fare-dodging protest in Santiago, on October 19, 2019.

Rozas said civilians were also injured during the protests, but he did not give a number. Ms Karla Rubilar, the regional governor of Santiago, said that by Saturday afternoon, five buses had also been burned. City authorities confirmed that schools would be shut on Monday and Tuesday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is recommending Israelis to "remain vigilant and alert" if they are visiting Chile.

Other reports by iNewsToday