Chile’s Capital on Fire, State of Emergency Declared

Events leading to the state of emergency in Chile’s capital Santiago:

  • Government increased metro ticket prices earlier this month.
  • Small demonstrations started in the capital Santiago following the announcement.
  • The size and number of demonstrations significantly increased in the past week.

On Friday, violent protesters looted shops, torched more than 16 buses, set fire to a dozen metro stations destroying them completely. A group of demonstrators also set fire the local subsidiary of the Italian energy giant Enel and Chile’s largest electricity company.

chile state of emergency
© FP via Getty Images

Angry protesters clashed with riot police hurling stones at them. The police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters and made several arrests.

President declares a state of emergency

president of chile
President of Chile Sebastián Piñera. © AFP photo

President Sebastián Piñera has declared a state of emergency in the capital Santiago on Friday night in a bid to curb the violent protests that have paralyzed the city. The president has ordered the military to take all necessary measures to ensure law and order in the country’s capital prevails.

The objective of this state of emergency is very simple but very profound: to ensure public order and peace for the inhabitants of Santiago, Pinera said in a statement.

What does the state of emergency demand?

The statement of emergency will restrict public gatherings, assembly and to some extent, freedom of movement. The military would patrol the most troubled areas and ensure the safety of citizens and public property.

.People, however, will not be bound to indoors as it’s not a curfew.

Iturriaga, a top general in the military said that no curfew is imposed and the military wouldn’t restrict any personal freedom for now.

Latest on the situation in Chile | Sunday 19/10/2019

The heating situation in Chile’s capital Santiago seems to be boiling up instead of cooling down. In spite of the government declaring a state of emergency a day before, reports say that people across several cities are coming out beating cooking pots in a show of solidarity with the demonstrators in the capital.


On Saturday, angry demonstrators burnt five more buses. A supermarket was also set on fire. Several roads were blocked by burning tires and logs.

Piñera rolls back on subway price hikes | 20/10/2019

In the wake of violent protests, President Sebastián Piñera on Sunday announced that the government is going to roll back on the previous decision of metro price hikes that stirred angry demonstrations across the country.

I have heard with humility the voice of my compatriots, we are going to suspend. Said the president before announcing the annulment.

Chile, one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations was considered immuned to violent protests. But a decline in the standards of living and an increase in transportation prices have made the public infuriated over the government’s performance.

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