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Protesters to take to the streets of Chile’s capital again amid state of emergency


Protesters to take to the streets of Chile’s capital again amid state of emergency

chile protests
Photo: AFP

A two-day strike by several trade unions will commence today after Chilean President Sebastian Pinera expanded the state of emergency that was originally called on Saturday night.

The State Security Law, which restricts freedom of movement and assembly for fifteen days, allows authorities to sentence those guilty of inhibiting or damaging public services to up to 20 years in prison.

Protests began after Pinera hiked subway fares by 4%, which, on average, resulted in a fifth of Chileans’ monthly salaries going to transportation. Cost-of-living issues such as the rising price of water, deficient healthcare, low wages and bad pensions were the underlying catalyst for public unrest.

What started as peaceful demonstrations on October 19 by high school students has evolved into destructive protests, with numerous subway stations, banks, and company headquarters set ablaze.

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After 8,000 army troops were deployed this Saturday, expect a similar heightened security presence and disruption of transportation. Although Pinera scrapped the original subway fare hike, it is unclear how quickly, if at all, he will address the plethora of underlying demands brought forth by protesters.

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