Americas|Chile Unrest Spreads, With 8 Deaths Reported in Violence
Protesters looted and set fire to stores in a burst of violence rooted in the government plan to increase transit fares.
Violence and looting continued to rock Chile on Sunday, resulting in at least eight deaths as stores and other establishment were set alight despite the imposition of a state of emergency in at least six cities.
The demonstrations started over a subway fare increase two weeks ago, which President Sebastián Piñeracanceled on Saturday night. But his move failed to quell the wave of demonstrations that continued to convulse the country into Sunday.
Three people were killed in fires at supermarkets that were looted on Sunday, and another five people were found dead in a warehouse that had been burned, officials told The Associated Press.
The unrest was some of the worst to hit the country in decades. Rioting over the fare increase led demonstrators to set fire to buses and vandalize subway stops.
Officials were reported to be considering extending the state of emergency to more cities in the north and south of the country. The actions are the first time since Chile’s return to democracy in 1990 that the government has declared a state of emergency because of public disorder in the capital, Santiago.
Mr. Piñera met with leaders of the legislature and judiciary system on Sunday and pledged “to reduce excessive inequalities, inequities abuses, that persist in our society.”
The disturbances led at least two airlines to cancel or reschedule flights into Santiago, and long lines were forming at gas stations before the start of the workweek. The interior minister, Andrés Chadwick, said that 62 police officers and 11 civilians were injured in the latest violence and that nearly 1, 500 people had been arrested.
The sight of military tanks and troops roaming the streets was jarring for many Chileans, given the country former17 – year military dictatorship, during which the armed forces committed rampant abuses.
The chief of the subway system, Louis de Grange, said he hoped to restore service to one line by Monday, but that four other lines might not be back in service for weeks or months.
Gerry Mullany is the international news editor in Hong Kong, responsible for coverage of breaking news in Asia and Australia . He previously served as deputy politics editor for the 2008, 2012, and 2016 presidential races.@gerrymullany
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