Santiago Under State of Emergency After Heavy Riots

  • Following the multiple disturbances, the president of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, declared a state of emergency.
  • After the announcement, the Chilean Army began to be deployed in the early hours of Saturday in the most conflictive sectors of Santiago.
  • This is the fifth day of protests at various Metro stations.

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera declared a state of emergency Friday night, and put a soldier in charge of security, amid heavy rioting in the capital, Santiago. A fury of fires, looting, and clashes broke out in the city against an increase in the price of the subway. At least 16 public transport buses were burned and a dozen stations of the metropolitan railway— the hub of public transport in this city, which mobilizes about three million passengers every day— were completely destroyed.

Sebastián Piñera is a Chilean politician who currently served as the 36th President of Chile, following his election in December 2017. He also served as the 34th President from 2010 to 2014.

A strong fire was also registered in the building of the electricity distribution company Enel, in the center of Santiago de Chile, after the alleged attack by strangers in the context of intense disturbances in different areas of the city, the company said. The fire started in the external staircase sector of the building, located in downtown Santiago, and then spread to the upper offices. Firefighters came to the place to try to put out the flames. Later they confirmed to have controlled the great fire.

For its part, Enel said the fire started at about 10 PM local time (01:00 GMT on Saturday) when a group of strangers attacked the premises of the corporate building, specifically the emergency staircase. The workers were evacuated and transferred to a safe place, without regretting injured people, according to Enel.

State of emergency

The Santiago Metro is the rapid transit network serving the city of Santiago, Chile. It currently has seven lines, 136 stations, and 140 kilometers (87.0 mi) of revenue route, making it the largest in South America.

Following the multiple disturbances, the President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, declared a state of emergency. He later appeared before the press at the Palacio de La Moneda, headquarters of the Executive, and explained that the objective of the state of emergency is to return to normalcy from the protests, riots, barricades, fires, and looting seen on the streets of the Chilean capital. “I have declared a state of emergency and, to that end, I have appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as head of national defense, in accordance with the provisions of our state of emergency legislation,” President Pinera said.

After the announcement, the Chilean Army began to be deployed in the early hours of Saturday in the most conflictive sectors of Santiago to regain control of public order that broke after the riots on Friday. This was confirmed by Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo, appointed as head of the national defense after the state of emergency was decreed.

This is the fifth day of protests at various Metro stations, with hundreds of young people sneaking in without paying, causing damage and facing the Police. The disturbances were increasing until causing chaos in several points of the city, between the disorders and the mass of people who were without locomotion.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site. 

 


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