Chilean President Sebastian Pinera declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Santiago and Chacabuco after violent riots erupted following a metro tariff hike, according to a video statement posted on Twitter.
"In recent days, we have witnessed brutal and repeated attacks on metro facilities and property, attempts to attack citizens. They interfere with freedom of movement and significantly disturbed public order. Using the powers granted to me by the Constitution and the law, I introduced a state of emergency for the provinces of Santiago and Chacabuco and the communes of Puente Alto and San Bernardo," said Pinera.
The president also said that he would convene a working group to discuss ticket prices' Earlier this month, the government had increased fares by as much as $1.17 for a journey during peak hours, justifying the move by citing higher energy costs and a weaker peso.
“It is one thing to demonstrate and another to commit the vandalism we have observed,” President Sebastian Pinera told national radio station Radio Agricultural earlier. “This is not protest, it is crime.”
Over the past day, protesters burned several metro stations and office buildings. During the riots, citizens dissatisfied with the rise in price of transport also burned buses and attacked law enforcement officers. The Santiago Metro Office announced the suspension of the metro on Saturday and Sunday.