Santiago de Chile dawns in a state of emergency

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Santiago de Chile woke up in a state of emergency after the recent protests and the serious disturbances that happened last Friday, after the announcement of the increase in the passage of the Transantiago public service .

Protesters in Santiago de Chile.

Protesters in Santiago de Chile. / Photo: AFP

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

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Leer en español: Santiago de Chile amanece en estado de emergencia

To the rhythm of pots and pans thousands of Chileans went out to protest last Friday, after the announcement of the increase in public service rates. According to El Clarín, the public transport ticket increased 380 Chilean pesos, about 1.15 dollars more.

However, the protests resulted in clashes between hooded, police and military. Gradually, the city was plunged into chaos, since protesters began to set fire from buses to stations in the subway network, as announced by the police inspector general, Mauricio Rodríguez.

The riots were on the rise, and around eleven o'clock at night (Chile time), the building of the company responsible for distributing electricity, Enel, was engulfed in flames. According to the company's official statement, “a group of strangers attacked the premises of the corporate building, specifically the emergency staircase. The workers were immediately evacuated and transferred to a safe place, without regretting injured people".

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Around two o'clock in the morning, the protesters and hooded men ceased the excesses, allowing the city to be gradually restored. As a security measure, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera decreed that Santiago de Chile would be in a state of emergency.

The foregoing allowed the control of sectors of the city that were the scene of protests, "which means entrusting the security of the area to a military command and implies a restriction on freedom of locomotion and assembly for a period of 15 days," as explains Infobae.

In addition to the presidential address, Piñera announced that the decision was to "ensure public order, ensure the tranquility of the inhabitants of the city of Santiago, protect both public and private assets and, above all, guarantee the rights of all".

The day left 308 people detained and 167 injured, mostly people belonging to the police.

However, on Saturday night there were several riots and a supermarket was caught on fire in the community of San Bernardo, which resulted in the death of three people.

The plan to follow

Given the reason for the protest, Piñera justified the price increase was due “to the rise that has occurred in the price of the dollar and oil, and was determined by a panel of experts.” However, he justified that the Chilean government was going to establish a transversal dialogue to alleviate the situation experienced by Chileans.

Likewise, Piñera addressed the Chilean people, stating that he would suspend the price increase of the capital's subway.

The president announced on Saturday the development of a plan to mitigate the impact of the passage increase, highlighting "the difficult economic situation that many Chileans were going through," according to the information given by EFE.

So far, the underground guild supports the demonstrations, driven by students; according to statements delivered by Eric Campos, president of the Metro Syndicate to RT. In addition, he mentioned that the union understands “that a quality transport with a fair rate is a right” and added that the mobilizations could continue.