Chile protests: At least eight people killed during riots in Santiago

Zamira Rahim
Debris of a burnt and looted supermarket in Chile: REUTERS
Debris of a burnt and looted supermarket in Chile: REUTERS

At least eight people have been killed in Chile during a second day of protests and rioting in the South American nation.

Three people were left dead after a looted building was set ablaze, the governor of Santiago, the country’s capital, said.

Five more people were later found dead in the basement of a burned-out warehouse.

The Chilean military declared another night-time curfew for Sunday evening as the government struggled to contain the violent protests.

Demonstrations first began on Monday after a 4 per cent hike in public transport fares was announced.

Students reacted by organising protests, which involved hundreds of young people descending on metro stations in Santiago.

The crowds jumped over turnstiles in a fare-dodging protest.

But hundreds of thousands of commuters were left stranded after subway services were suspended.

The demonstrations have become increasingly violent over the course of a week, prompting a state of emergency to be declared.

Santiago descended into chaos on Friday as riots left several buildings on fire and shuttered the city’s metro system.

Hugo Millacoy Gonzalez, a mechanical engineer, took his young son to the San Jose de La Estrella metro station to protest the fare hikes.

He said he was demonstrating “so my son sees that they can’t mock the people”.

A protester kicks a tear gas canister during clashes in Santiago (AP)
A protester kicks a tear gas canister during clashes in Santiago (AP)

Students also set up barricades, started fires at the entrances to subway stations and looted businesses.

Police officers fired tear gas at crowds of protesters in response.

Sebastian Pinera, Chile’s president, announced he was cancelling the fare increase on Saturday night.

“I have heard with humility the voice of my compatriots,” said Mr Pinera.

But despite the announcement the violent demonstrations continued into Sunday.

Police detain a protester in Santiago (Esteban Felix/AP)
Police detain a protester in Santiago (Esteban Felix/AP)

The burnt supermarket was one of 60 Walmart-owned outlets which have been vandalised in recent days.

The company have said many of its stores were closed as the violence continued.

Mr Pinera declared a state of emergency on Friday, as riots caused millions of pounds in damage to vandalised metro stations, shops and office buildings.

A curfew remains in effect for six Chilean cities.

Troops have been called in to patrol the streets of Santiago and at least two airlines have cancelled flights into the capital.

Additional reporting by agencies