The President of Chile Sebastian Pinera said on Sunday that the country is 'at war' as it had lost control over the violent unrest and looting going on for three days, claiming seven lives. Around 1,500 people have been detained by the forces in Chile's worst social unrest in many years. Pinera, while speaking to foreign media after an urgent meeting with army general Javier Iturriaga said, "We are at war against a powerful, implacable enemy, who does not respect anything or anyone and is willing to use violence and crime without any limits". Javier Iturriaga is presently looking after the order and security in the capital Santiago.
The President confirmed that along with Santiago, nine other regions have been put under a state of emergency. Troops have been deployed on streets — something which had never happened since 1990. Violent clashes were reported between the demonstrators and the security forces. There were around 9,500 cops and military firing tear gas and water cannons against the demonstrators as they burnt buses, damaged metro stations, and ransacked stores. The administration has imposed the second curfew in a period of 24 hours as the situation worsened in the capital. Initially, the cause of protests was a hike in the metro fare; later the protests later took a violent turn and expanded.
High inequalities in various sectors have sparked protests across the country. Sociologist and political scientist at the University of Chile, Octavio Avendano while speaking about the protests to foreign media said, "Many latent requests have not been answered, tension has built up, frustration has increased daily in daily life". Around five people have lost their lives on Sunday when a garment factory was set ablaze by a mob in Santiago suburb. The incident occurred a day after the Chile President announced a fare hike suspension. Many other people in various parts lost their lives due to the ongoing unrest. The public transport services have been suspended, whereas the shops have been closed down. Many flights have been cancelled following which thousands of travellers were left stranded after imposition of the curfew. The administration has reported about 103 major incidents in Chile. "It's really sad what's happening, but the people are outraged because they're not being listened to," said a local said while speaking to media.
READ: Chile’s President Rolls Back Subway Fare Hike Amid Protests
(With inputs from ANI)