Chile President declares state emergency in Santiago

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera has declared a state of emergency in Santiago and gave the military responsibility for security after a day of violent protests over an increase in the price of metro tickets.

Protestors clashed with riot police throughout yesterday in several parts of the capital, Santiago, and the subway system was shut after attacks on stations in some of the worst violence the city has seen in years. At least 16 buses were torched and a dozen metro stations totally destroyed.

The President has appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as the head of national defence. In a statement, he said the objective of the state of emergency is to ensure public order and peace for the inhabitants of Santiago.

The state of emergency is initially for 15 days and restricts freedom of movement and assembly. General Iturriaga said the military would patrol major trouble spots in the city of seven million but would not impose a curfew at present.