PHOTOS: Chile death toll rises as protests continue

Demonstrators take cover as they are sprayed by security forces with a water cannon during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

Thousands of Chileans flooded the streets of Santiago and other cities Wednesday on day one of a general strike, upping the pressure on President Sebastien Pinera after days of social unrest that have left at least 18 dead.

Students, professors and state workers walked off the job at the urging of the country's largest union, ignoring a package of measures announced by Pinera aimed at quelling the violence.

"THE STRIKE IS ON! We say it loud and clear: enough of the increases and abuses," said the Workers' United Center of Chile (CUT), which organized the two-day action with about 20 other groups. In the capital Santiago, police used water cannons to dispel protesters. "Chile has awakened," read the sign of one protester.

The country, usually one of the most stable in Latin America, has experienced its worst violence in decades since protests against a now-scrapped hike in metro fares escalated dramatically on Friday. Demonstrators have decried social and economic woes, including a yawning gap between rich and poor.

A four-year-child and a man were killed in the latest protests when a drunk driver rammed into a crowd of demonstrators, Interior Undersecretary Rodrigo Ubilla said. A third person died after being beaten by police, according to the victim's family.

In an address to the nation late Tuesday, Pinera apologized for failing to anticipate the outbreak of social unrest. "I recognize this lack of vision," Pinera said after a meeting with some of Chile's opposition leaders.

Beyond the dead, another 269 people have been injured and about 1,900 have been arrested, according to the National Institute for Human Rights (INDH). (AFP News)

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A demonstrator bangs on a metal pan during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A police officer fires tear gas as demonstrators protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A demonstrator holds a flag as he walks near a fire during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters)
A demonstrator gestures in front of an armored vehicle during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A demonstrator gestures in front of an armored vehicle during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
Demonstrators are seen in front of a burning barricade during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters)
A member of security forces aims his weapon during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters)
A demonstrator is sprayed by security forces with a water cannon during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A member of security forces aims his weapon during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters)
Demonstrators are seen behind a barricade on fire during clashes in Valparaiso, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters)
A demonstrator throws a rock during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A demonstrator holds a stick to hit an armored vehicle during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A riot police vehicle uses its water cannon to extinguish a barricade during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo: Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters)
An anti-government demonstrator screams in font of a burning barricade in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Photo: Rodrigo Abd/AP)
Anti-government demonstrators brace themselves behind shields as they're sprayed with a police water cannon in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Photo: Rodrigo Abd/AP)
A demonstrator holds a Chilean flag toward an armored police vehicle during an anti-government march in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Anti-government demonstrators climb on a billboard in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP)
Soldiers are reflected in the glass of a bus stop as demonstrators walk past, amid ongoing demonstrations triggered by an increase in subway fares in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. (Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP)
Protesters stand in tear gas launched by police amid ongoing demonstrations triggered by an increase in subway fares in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A demonstrator holds up his hands toward advancing soldiers during a protest as a state of emergency remains in effect in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Police fire tear gas at protesters violating a curfew in downtown Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Police detain a demonstrator in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A protester kicks a tear gas canister during clashes with police in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A protester returns a tear gas canister to police during clashes in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Police detain a demonstrator in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Police spray water at demonstrators blocking an avenue in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A worker cleans up a supermarket looted during protests in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera on Saturday announced the suspension of a subway fare hike that had prompted violent student protests, less than a day after he declared a state of emergency amid rioting and commuter chaos in the capital. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A protester intercepts a tear gas canister thrown by riot police in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A van set on fire by protesters burns in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Demonstrators clash with police launching tear gas as a state of emergency remains in effect in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Demonstrators run from tear gas launched by police as a state of emergency remains in effect in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Protesters block a street with burning garbage and violate a curfew in downtown Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Demonstrators run from police launching water canons and tear gas as a state of emergency remains in effect in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Protests in the country have spilled over into a new day, even after President Sebastian Pinera cancelled the subway fare hike that prompted massive and violent demonstrations. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Firefighters put out the flames on a burning bus during a protest against the rising cost of subway and bus fares, in Santiago, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A demonstrator wearing a mask throws a plank of wood into a flaming barricade during a protests in Santiago, Chile, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A police water cannon extinguishes a burning bus that was set alight by demonstrators during a protest in Santiago, Chile, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Firefighters put out the flames on a burning bus during a protest against the rising cost of subway and bus fares, in Santiago, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A police officer walks in a subway station that was torched during last night's protests, in Santiago, Chile, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The protests started on Friday afternoon when high school students flooded subway stations, jumping turnstiles, dodging fares and vandalizing stations as part of protests against a fare hike, but by nightfall had extended throughout Santiago with students setting up barricades and fires at the entrances to subway stations, forcing President Sebastian Pinera to announce a state of emergency and deploy the armed forces into the streets. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Chilean police stand in a subway station that was damaged during last night's protests, in Santiago, Chile, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A police water cannon puts out a burning barricade near the Santa Lucia subway station during a protest against the rising cost of subway and bus fares, in Santiago, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A protester kicks a tear gas canister launched by police near the Santa Lucia subway station during a protest against the rising cost of subway and bus fares, in Santiago, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
A pedestrian quickens his pace to escape the fumes caused by tear gas tear launched by police during a protest against the rising cost of subway and bus fares, in Santiago, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)
Protesters push a bicycle in front of a gate of the Santa Lucia subway station during a protest against the rising cost of subway and bus fares, in Santiago, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo: Esteban Felix/AP)

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