Chile president declares state of emergency after violent protests

Violent clashes escalated as night fell, and the ENEL power company building and a Banco Chile branch, both in the city center, were set on fire. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 October 2019

Chile president declares state of emergency after violent protests

  • Throughout Friday, protesters clashed with riot police in several parts of the city and the subway system was shut after attacks on several stations
  • Protesters erected barricades in various parts of the city and clashed with police

SANTIAGO, Chile: Chile’s president declared a state of emergency in Santiago Friday night and gave the military responsibility for security after a day of violent protests over increases in the price of metro tickets.

“I have declared a state of emergency and, to that end, I have appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as head of national defense, in accordance with the provisions of our state of emergency legislation,” President Sebastian Pinera said.

Throughout Friday, protesters clashed with riot police in several parts of the city and the subway system was shut after attacks on several stations.
Violent clashes escalated as night fell, and the ENEL power company building and a Banco Chile branch, both in the city center, were set on fire and several metro stations hit with Molotov cocktails.

The unrest started as a fare-dodging protest against the hike in metro ticket prices, which increased from 800 to 830 peso ($1.17) for peak hour travel, following a 20 peso rise in January.

Attacks on metro stations forced the closure of the entire subway system, which is the key form of public transport in the congested and polluted capital, carrying three million passengers a day.

“The entire network is closed due to riots and destruction that prevent the minimum security conditions for passengers and workers,” the metro operator said on Twitter, after attacks against nearly all the 164 stations where many gates and turnstiles were destroyed.

The Santiago Metro, at 140 kilometers (90 miles) the largest and most modern in South America, is expected to remain closed this weekend and could reopen gradually next week.

Closure of the metro forced many Santiago residents to walk home, sometimes long distances, resulting in scenes of chaos.

Protesters erected barricades in various parts of the city and clashed with police, who used water cannon and tear gas in the most violent street battle seen in the Chilean capital for a long time.

Pinera slammed the protesters as criminals. “This desire to break everything is not a protest, it’s criminal,” he said in a radio interview.

On Thursday, 133 people had been arrested for causing damage to metro stations, estimated at up to 500 million pesos ($700,000).


Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital

Updated 16 January 2021

Bomb kills two policemen in Afghan capital

  • Two policemen were killed and one wounded
  • The two warring sides are currently in the Qatari capital Doha discussing the agenda items of the talks

KABUL: A roadside bomb targeting a police vehicle in the Afghan capital killed two policemen Saturday, officials said, as violence continues unabated in Afghanistan despite peace talks between the Taliban and government.
The vehicle carrying the policemen was struck by the bomb in the center of the capital on the road to the prestigious Kabul University, police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said.
Two policemen were killed and one wounded, Faramarz said.
Violence has surged across the country in recent months, especially in Kabul which is also rocked by a new trend of targeted killings that has sown fear in the city.
The bloodshed comes even as the Taliban and government negotiators engage in peace talks to end the nearly two decade war in the country.
The two warring sides are currently in the Qatari capital Doha discussing the agenda items of the talks.