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These Photos Show The Huge Protests Triggered By A Rise In Subway Fares In Chile

What began as a protest against a 4% rise in subway fares has morphed into a wave of unrest over social inequality.

Posted on October 21, 2019, at 12:58 p.m. ET

Esteban Felix / AP

Demonstrators run from police launching water cannons and tear gas as a state of emergency remains in effect in Santiago, Chile, on Oct. 20.

A state of emergency has been declared across parts of Chile in response to huge anti-government protests that initially began in opposition to a 4% rise in subway fares.

Santiago Gov. Karla Rubilar said Monday that 11 people had died as a result of protest-linked violence over the weekend.

Student-led protests began at the start of last week when people jumped over subway ticket barriers in opposition to the increased prices. But by Friday, the unrest had morphed into a larger protest movement against inequality and the rising cost of living in Chile. “It’s not about 30 pesos, it’s about 30 years,” was a common chant from protesters, referencing the increase in subway fares and rising inequality over the last three decades.

Three days of violent demonstrations followed in Santiago and in other cities, with rioters setting subway stations, banks, supermarkets, and other buildings alight. Many of the deaths have been as a result of fires started by rioters.

This weekend, police were joined by more than 10,000 troops in Santiago — the first time troops have been deployed in the capital since the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet ended in 1990. More than 1,400 people have been arrested.

Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera, a billionaire conservative, canceled the subway ticket increase on Saturday, saying he had “heard with humility the voice of my compatriots.” But on Sunday he gave a televised address from the country’s military headquarters where he expanded a state of emergency to other parts of the country outside Santiago, saying, “We are at war against a powerful enemy, who is willing to use violence without any limits.”

Claudio Reyes / Getty Images

Demonstrators clash with a riot police vehicle during protests in Santiago on Oct. 20.

Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images

Demonstrators took to the streets of Santiago this weekend.

Claudio Reyes / Getty Images

Students attempt to break the entrance of the Bellas Artes metro station during a mass fare-dodging protest in Santiago on Oct. 18.

Javier Torres / Getty Images

A metro station in the city of Valparaíso, west of Santiago, after it was burned during anti-government protests.

Javier Torres / Getty Images

A firefighter walks outside a burned supermarket after a protest in Valparaíso, Chile, on Oct. 20.

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Chilean army soldiers protect a mall ransacked by protesters in Santiago, Oct. 20.

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Demonstrators in Santiago on Oct. 20.

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Anti-government demonstrators swarm a military vehicle as they protest cost-of-living increases, Oct. 20 in Santiago.

Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images

An anti-government demonstrator during clashes with police in Santiago.

Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images

Police arrest an anti-government demonstrator in Santiago.

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Soldiers on the streets of the city of Concepción on Oct. 20.

Pablo Hidalgo / Getty Images

A riot police officer shoots tear gas during protests in Concepcion, Chile, on Sunday.

Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images

Anti-government demonstrators clash with police as they protest cost-of-living increases Oct. 20 in Santiago, Chile.

Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images

A protester in Santiago on Oct. 20.

Claudio Reyes / Getty Images

The police arrest a demonstrator during clashes between protesters and police in Santiago on Oct. 20.

Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images

A crowd of protesters in Santiago on Oct. 20.

Javier Torres / Getty Images

A masked demonstrator during protests in Valparaíso, Chile, on Oct. 20.

Marcelo Hernandez / Getty Images

A protester holds the Chilean flag in Santiago.




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