Troops were patrolling the streets of the Chilean capital Santiago on Saturday morning, the military confirmed, after President Sebastian Pinera evoked a state of emergency amid a surge in violent protests over a hike in public transport fares.
Javier Iturriaga del Campo, the general designated in charge by Pinera, told a news conference at Santiago’s Moneda presidential palace in the early hours of Saturday that his troops would focus their patrols on “the most conflict-hit areas” but would impose no curfew “for now.”
“The recommendation for people is that they can go home to be with their families and be calm,” he said.
“We are assuming control, deploying our forces in a way that we can prevent continuing acts of vandalism and having a better sense in the morning of what is happening.”
The announcement by a grim-faced Pinera shortly after midnight came after 12 hours of intense unrest in the city center, where protesters clashed with police who used tear gas and water cannons, according to the interior ministry, witnesses and television footage. – READ MORE