- Title: Santiago under siege as Chile student protests turn violent
- Date: 19th October 2019
- Summary: SANTIAGO, CHILE (OCTOBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS, DAMAGE FROM FIRE TO CORPORATE OFFICE BUILDING OF UTILITY COMPANY ENEL VARIOUS, CHARRED REMAINS OF BURNED BUSES VARIOUS, BURNED AND VANDALISED BANK BRANCH VARIOUS, MILITARY PERSONNEL AT METRO STATION ENTRANCE
- Embargoed: 2nd November 2019 14:34
- Keywords: state of emergency burned ENEL building fire Chilean President Sebastian Pinera fare increases violence subway buses metro students protests transportation Chile
- Location: SANTIAGO, CHILE
- City: SANTIAGO, CHILE
- Country: Chile
- Topics: Government/Politics,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA002B1RGRWN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Troops were patrolling the streets of the Chilean capital Santiago on Saturday (October 19) morning after President Sebastian Pinera evoked a state of emergency amid a surge in violent protests over a hike in public transport fares.
Metro stations, buses and the high-rise headquarters of electric utility Enel were set on fire Friday (October 18) night.
The announcement by a grim-faced Pinera shortly after midnight came after 12 hours of intense unrest in the city centre, where protesters clashed with police who used tear gas and water cannons.
Police told Reuters that on Friday alone, 156 police officers had been injured, including five seriously. Forty-nine police cars were damaged, 41 metro stations vandalised and 308 people were detained.
Javier Iturriaga del Campo, the general designated in charge by Pinera, told a news conference at Santiago's Moneda presidential palace in the early hours of Saturday that his troops would "prevent the excesses and damage from continuing to happen in the city."
The decision to deploy the military was met with widespread shock in a nation that lived under a military dictatorship for 17 years until 1990.
Sporting and cultural events have been cancelled for the weekend, the metro network remains closed and foreign embassies have updated their security advisories for expatriates and visitors, urging them to avoid crowds and carry identification.
In just over three weeks, Chile is due to host U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping along with many others for a regional summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Weeks later it will host other world leaders for the COP25 United Nations climate change summit.
Political commentators and opposition parties have lambasted the response by Pinera's government to the protests, which started on Oct. 7 and have grown in intensity amid widespread discontent over the high cost of basic goods and utilities.
Some said he provoked an explosive confrontation by rolling out riot police frequently accused of heavy-handedness instead of seeking dialogue with the protesters.
(Production: Jorge Vega)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None