Riots in Chile

Isabella Harrop, Staff Writer

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Riots are occurring in Chile, leaving 15 people dead, 200 injured, and over 1,500 people detained. The riots were started by the youth about 10 days ago because of the rise in cost for the subway in the capital city. Protesters have ransacked supermarkets and pharmacies, shut down the public transportation and even set fire to subway stations and government buildings. One person was shot, two died in a fire, and 50 security personnel have been seriously injured.

 

Protesters are complaining because of the rise in prices overall. The 4 percent increase for the subway was just the tip of the iceberg because in June there was also a 10 percent increase for electricity. They cost of living is increasing and the wages are falling. They also have a lack of education rights unless you pay for the expensive private education. The health care for poor people has also been crippling over passing time. Chile is one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries but also has the highest level of income inequality in the world.

 

The protesting began when university students stormed subway stations without paying, yelling slogans and spray painting the walls. There have been more and more people of all ages joining the protests.  16 buses and 8 subway stations have been burned down. The metro’s general manager said the costs to fix everything would be “much more than $200 million.” Over 20,000 homes had no electricity Sunday, flights and school were cancelled, 152 traffic lights were damaged, and 76 gas stations were destroyed.

 

Sebastián Piñera, who is president, has responded by deploying over 10,000 troops. Security forces have fired tear gas rubber bullets and water cannons. Piñera declared a state of emergency in six cities. This restricts rights of assembly and movement for 15 days. The military also set overnight curfews in three cities. Piñera announced that he would reverse the price for the subway, but the protesters declined the offer. They said they won’t accept any offers until the state of emergency is cancelled, and soldiers return to their barracks. Until they get justice, it seems that the Chileans are not backing down.

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