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A burning metro station in Santiago, October 18, 2019. REUTERS / Ramon Monroy

The Chilean president decreed Friday night the state of emergency in the capital after riots related to the increase in the price of the metro ticket.

Initiated on October 6 after the increase in the price of the ticket, it is Friday that the protest movement has turned into violence, causing chaos in the capital.

On Friday afternoon, Santiago was the scene of violent clashes between police and demonstrators. On the images published by news agencies or on social networks, we can see metro stations and even buses in flames. In the night, the Enel electricity company building, located in the city center, was set on fire, as evidenced by a video posted on Twitter.

Metro closed until further notice

" I have declared a state of emergency and, to that end, I have appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as head of national defense, in accordance with the provisions of our state of emergency legislation. Said Sebastian Pinera in a message to the government palace.

The entire metro network was closed due to unrest, Friday, October 18, 2019. REUTERS / Carlos Vera

The 164 metro stations in Santiago have been closed. And will remain this weekend.

Increased cost of living

From 800 to 830 pesos (from 1.01 to 1.05) during peak hours, the rise in the metro ticket may seem symbolic, but it follows a first increase of 20 pesos in January in a very congested city where public transport is used a lot. Above all, it adds to the growing sense of frustration among Chileans in the face of an overall rise in the cost of living.

" In the coming days, our government will call for dialogue (...) to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the price increase ," said the Chilean president, describing the protesters as delinquents.

( with AFP )