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Chile Orders Overnight Curfew for Third Day as Row of Violent Protests Claim 11 Lives

Army general Javier Iturriaga announced the curfew would last from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am as protests originally against a hike in metro fares turned into anger at President Sebastian Pinera and the military.

AFP

Updated:October 22, 2019, 7:51 AM IST
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Chile Orders Overnight Curfew for Third Day as Row of Violent Protests Claim 11 Lives
Protesters clash with riot police officers during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile October 20, 2019. (Image: REUTERS)

Santiago: Chile ordered an overnight curfew for the third day in a row as violent protests and looting that left 11 people dead over the weekend raged on into the working week.

Army general Javier Iturriaga announced the curfew would last from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am as protests originally against a hike in metro fares turned into anger at President Sebastian Pinera and the military.

Iturriaga insisted the curfew was "necessary" despite thousands of people demonstrating peacefully in the capital. However, there were scenes of violence and looting in other cities such as Valparaiso, Concepcion and Maipu.

Pinera said on Sunday the country was "at war" as five people died when a factory in a Santiago suburb was torched by protesters, while two women also died after a supermarket was set ablaze by looters.

Thousands of protesters --- many banging pots and pans in the traditional Latin American manner -- gathered peacefully in the main Plaza Italia square in the capital on Monday, chanting "Pinera Out!" and "Get out military!" Since the worst outbreak of social unrest in decades broke out on Friday, almost 1,500 people have been detained.

"We are at war against a powerful, implacable enemy, who does not respect anything or anyone and is willing to use violence and crime without any limits," Pinera told reporters on Sunday after an emergency meeting with Iturriaga, who has been placed in charge of order and security in the capital.

Santiago and nine more of Chile's 16 regions were under a state of emergency, Pinera confirmed late on Sunday, with troops deployed onto the streets for the first time since Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship between 1973-1990.

The clashes have seen some 9,500 police and military fire tear gas and water cannon against protesters who set fire to buses, smashed up metro stations and ransacked shops.

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