Tens of thousands of protesters swarmed Chile’s capital setting up fiery barricades and clashing with riot police Wednesday, as an apology and promises of economic reform from President Sebastián Piñera failed to calm unrest and rioting that has led to at least 18 deaths.
Trade unionists in the world’s top copper-producing country joined demonstrators in a general strike.
The movement started with anger at a small rise in subway fares but blew up last week into protests demanding improvements in education, health care, and wages in one of Latin America’s wealthiest, but most unequal nations.
Many protesters in Santiago waved the national flag and shouted: “Chile has woken up!”
Police responded to stone-throwing demonstrators by spraying water cannons and firing rubber bullets and tear gas. Similar scenes were repeated in towns and cities all along the long, narrow South American country of 18 million people.
Millions of students were still unable to attend classes, several subway stations were shut, and long lines wound from gas stations and supermarkets after many stores were torched or destroyed.
The unrest erupted last week when students began to jump subway station turnstiles to protest a 4-cent subway fare rise that the Chilean government said was needed to cope with rising oil prices and a weaker currency.
Most of the protests have been peaceful with demonstrators of all ages banging pots to demand reforms. But the unrest also involved riots, arson, and looting that have wracked Chile for six days, nearly paralyzing a country long seen as an oasis of stability.
“Today we’re protesting all of our discontent against these politicians who have been fooling us. The raise in the subway fare was just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Italo Tarsetti, a taekwondo teacher standing among demonstrators honking horns and banging on pots, a common form of protest in Latin America.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر