Five dead as Chile looters torch factory
Published: 01:17 PM, 21 October 2019 Updated: 01:18 PM, 21 October 2019
Five people have died after a garment factory was set ablaze by looters near Santiago, the capital of Chile, amid a wave of violent protests.
Five people were found dead in the basement of a burned warehouse and were not employees, authorities said.
In several cities on Sunday, protesters set more buses on fire, smashed up metro stations and clashed with riot police. A night-time curfew was imposed in the areas of Santiago, Valparaíso, Coquimbo and Biobio.
Meanwhile, a state of emergency will be applied to Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Valdivia, Chillán, Talca, Temuco and Punta Arenas, allowing authorities to restrict people's freedom of movement and their right to assembly.
The unrest, sparked by a now suspended metro fare hike, has widened to reflect anger over living costs and inequality.
In a late-night statement on television, President Sebastián Piñera said: "We're at war against a powerful enemy, who is willing to use violence without any limits".
Speaking to journalists, Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick said there had been 70 "serious incidents of violence", including 40 lootings of supermarkets and other businesses.
"We're facing a real escalation that is undoubtedly organised to cause serious damage to our country and the lives of each of its citizens," he said.
Some 10,500 police and soldiers had been deployed to the streets, he said, and at least seven people had died in incidents related to the protests, without giving details.
Firefighters said they found five bodies inside a factory burned by rioters in a suburb of Santiago.
More than 1,400 people were detained across the country, officials said, while two people suffered gunshot wounds after a clash with police.
In Santiago, shops remained closed, almost all public transport was suspended and some flights at the international airport were cancelled or rescheduled because of insufficient crew.
At least one line of the city's metro was expected to reopen on Monday after the entire system was closed on Friday because of the damage caused during the unrest, the worst to hit one of Latin America's most stable countries in decades.
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