Protests are spreading rapidly in Chile, where the cost of living has become unbearable. The violence recorded during the week, forced President Sebastian Pinera to declare a state of emergency in all the main cities, but this decision had the effect of increasing the violence instead.
The demonstrations began in Santiago on October 19, when protesters, many of them from high school and university, attacked and occupied underground stations, set fire and blocked traffic. They blocked the capital of Chile to make their voices being heard by President Piñera, who imposed a dramatic increase in subway tariffs two weeks ago. Nevertheless, now that the subway tariffs have been suspended, the protests have not stopped at all.
Moreover, the declaration of the state of emergency was not useful to block the demonstrations and the presence of police has increased the use of violence rapidly, with the Chilean army possessing the roads to contain the protesters. The revolt that began with the rising metro prices has now revealed the real anger that affects the Chilean people: the fear of not being able to live with current costs and social inequality.
It has been called the worst civilian disorder since Pinochet’s coup d’état, with the country deploying soldiers and tanks for the first time since 1990, when Chile returned to democracy after its dictatorship. The Chileans screamed that the unequal system has excluded them from the extraordinary economic performance of the country. Now, the feeling of being left behind is too strong to remain silent.
At the same time, Piñera, the conservative president of Chile, was criticized for his response to the protests, since he said that the people who were causing fires, setting up barricades and looting were “criminals“.
Those words are useless, as with the passage of time, the number of people killed continue to increase. According to the latest reports of Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos de la República de Chile, the number of people killed violently during the protests have reached 11 and at least 5 of them lost their lives during a fire in a clothing factory.