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Chile President Pinera declares emergency as capital rocked by riots

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Chile President Pinera declares emergency as capital rocked by riots

By Dave Sherwood and Aislinn Laing

 

2019-10-19T045041Z_1_LYNXMPEF9I03U_RTROPTP_4_CHILE-PROTESTS-METRO.JPG

Demonstrators take part in a protest against the increase in the subway ticket prices in Santiago, Chile, October 18, 2019 REUTERS/Carlos Vera

 

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's President Sebastian Pinera declared a state of emergency in the capital Santiago early on Saturday, as the city of 6 million descended into chaos amid riots that left a downtown building engulfed in flames and its metro system shuttered.

 

Black-hooded protesters enraged by recent fare hikes on public transportation lit fires at several metro stations, looted shops, burned a public bus and swung metal pipes at train station turnstiles during Friday's afternoon commute, according to witnesses, social media and television footage.

 

Pinera spoke to the nation in the early hours of Saturday, declaring an emergency lockdown as sirens filled the night air downtown, and police and firefighters rushed to contain the damage.

 

The center-right Pinera said he would invoke a special state security law to prosecute the "criminals" responsible for the city-wide damage, while at the same time saying he sympathized with those impacted by the rate hikes.

 

"In the coming days, our government will call for a dialogue ... to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the increase in fares," Pinera said in the broadcast address.

 

Chile is one of Latin America's wealthiest nations, but also, among its most unequal. Frustrations over the high cost of living in Santiago have become a political flashpoint, prompting calls for reforms on everything from the country's tax and labour codes to its pension system.

 

Enel Chile, a subsidiary of Italian utility Enel, said vandals had set fire to the company's high-rise corporate headquarters downtown. Local television footage showed flames climbing up the side of the building as fire crews struggled to break through growing crowds of protesters.

 

The company said in a statement posted on Twitter that workers had been evacuated safely from the site.

 

High school and university students began the protests after the government hiked fares on Oct. 6 to as much as $1.17 for a peak metro ride, blaming higher energy costs and a weaker peso.

 

The protests turned increasingly violent on Friday afternoon, however, and by early evening, officials had closed down all of the city's 136 metro stations, which connect more than 87 miles of track.

 

The metro system will remain closed through the weekend, with officials saying "serious destruction" made it impossible to operate trains safely.

 

Demonstrators clanging pots and honking horns clashed with police armed with batons and tear gas all across the normally subdued city late into Friday evening.

 

Metro management said there had been more than 200 incidents on Santiago's subway system in the previous 11 days, mostly involving school children and older students jumping barriers and forcing gates.

 

Earlier on Friday, after a meeting with the metro chief and interior minister, Transport Minister Gloria Hutt told reporters the fare hike would not be reversed. She said the government subsidizes almost half the operating costs of the metro, one of Latin America's most modern.

 

"This is not a discussion that should have risen to the level of violence that we've seen," she said.

 

(Reporting by Aislinn Laing, Dave Sherwood and Natalia Ramos; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Tom Hogue)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-10-19

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1972 Pinot Che against the people, 2019 Pinera against the people.
History seem to come back again, a far right president at the pay roll of multinationals and US "services"  in a country were inequality is the motto, landowners of 10 thousands of hectares and people not even a broken scanted room.
Pinera to fix the economy, don't tax the multinationals or large landowners, indeed obtained loans for his own gains from IMF and WB and then increase cost of life for the normal and poor people, making the poor more poorer and the richer more rich.

it's not a 0.042 as the far and fake news media says is much more, its a tired people that can not make a living, meantime Pinera and his gang parties with Champagne!

True is seen with Bolsonaro and the Amazonian fires, Moreno against the people and the Indios, the unelected loser Guaido in Venezuela, Pinera in Chile, who send the army to as Pinot Che did, South America is having a clear destabilization wave, people shall not command their own country.

Multinationals and US "services" previously forgotten South America and Caribbean for a couple of decades, now they back again.
The same of who trained and paid the Argentinian generals, criminal bunched Pinot Che, those who helped the narcos in order to finance the infamous "contras" , those are back again with their puppets as presidents to purge the honest and innocent people

All support to the Chilean protester and if Pinera keeps fighting the people of Chile lets boycott their products from Seafood to Wine.

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39 minutes ago, rhyddid said:

1972 Pinot Che against the people, 2019 Pinera against the people.
History seem to come back again, a far right president at the pay roll of multinationals and US "services"  in a country were inequality is the motto, landowners of 10 thousands of hectares and people not even a broken scanted room.
Pinera to fix the economy, don't tax the multinationals or large landowners, indeed obtained loans for his own gains from IMF and WB and then increase cost of life for the normal and poor people, making the poor more poorer and the richer more rich.

it's not a 0.042 as the far and fake news media says is much more, its a tired people that can not make a living, meantime Pinera and his gang parties with Champagne!

True is seen with Bolsonaro and the Amazonian fires, Moreno against the people and the Indios, the unelected loser Guaido in Venezuela, Pinera in Chile, who send the army to as Pinot Che did, South America is having a clear destabilization wave, people shall not command their own country.

Multinationals and US "services" previously forgotten South America and Caribbean for a couple of decades, now they back again.
The same of who trained and paid the Argentinian generals, criminal bunched Pinot Che, those who helped the narcos in order to finance the infamous "contras" , those are back again with their puppets as presidents to purge the honest and innocent people

All support to the Chilean protester and if Pinera keeps fighting the people of Chile lets boycott their products from Seafood to Wine.

 

"the song remains the same"

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