Chile protests turns violent : Death toll rises

Santiago, Oct 23 Chile´s government extended a state of emergency to cities in its north and south after at least 15 people have been killed in the deadly riots the country has seen in decades. Protests erupted against high living costs,inequality and government’s hike in Santiago Metro fares. President Sebastian Pinera declared a state of emergency on Saturday, with curfews issued in some parts of the country.

Thousands of people in Chile took to the streets again for the 15th consecutive day to protest against the government over the high costs for public services, the inadequate pension system and deficiencies in the public health system, all of this combining into a social outburst that has been unprecedented in Chile’s recent history.

In Santiago, thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Plaza Italia on Tuesday, the epicenter of the protests in the capital amid a heavy military presence.
Deadly riots were witnessed in other Chilean cities as protests over an increase in public transport costs prompted President Sebastian Pinera to reverse the move and declare a state of emergency.

The Carabineros – Chile’s militarized police – deployed their Special Forces unit, along with armored vehicles mounting water cannons and tear gas mortars, and used riot control measures to try and disperse the crowds.

The state of emergency is in place in Antofagasta, Valparaiso, Valdivia, Chillan, Talca, Temuco and Punta Arenas.

There was transport deadlock in Santiago and chaos at the international airport on Sunday, where flights into and out of Santiago were suspended or cancelled as crew members and airport staff were unable to get to work, the city’s governor said.

Since the protests began, at least 2,643 people have been arrested.

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