8 killed in Chile protests against metro price hikes

AFP Photo

The death toll in Chile rose to eight on Sunday amid demonstrations against a metro price hike that turned violent.

Five people were killed by a fire in a clothing factory near the capital Santiago after it was ransacked by protestors.

Earlier on Sunday, three people were killed in Santiago by a fire inside a looted supermarket.

A 15-day state of emergency was declared there on Saturday.

The number of declared emergency zones has been growing since protests began against the price hikes, despite the government reversing the rise.

In addition to the Metropolitan Region, home to some 7 million people, emergencies were also declared in Valparaiso, Concepcion, Rancagua, Coquimbo and La Serena, and Antofagasta.

"We are at war against a powerful enemy, one willing to use violence without bounds," Sebastian Pinera, Chile's president, said in a live Twitter broadcast late Sunday.

"Tomorrow we will have a difficult day," he added, saying the "rioters" "have a degree of organization, logistics typical of a criminal organization."

Stressing that it is not time for ambiguity, Pinera called on Chileans to unite against violence and delinquency.

On Monday, hundreds of protestors stormed metro stations in Santiago, with protests turning violent after security forces used force against the demonstrators jumping over turnstiles without paying the fare.

Police responded with tear gas after protesters broke turnstiles and windows at some metro stations.

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