Widespread protests against income inequality throughout Chile are about to enter their second week. So far, 18 civilians have been killed and hundreds more injured.
The demonstrations began earlier this month as a student campaign against an increase in Santiago subway fares. But since Oct. 18, they have gained momentum and scope, expanding out of the Chilean capital of Santiago to other cities and adding the rising cost of living to its list of grievances.
While most of the protests have been peaceful (many protestors are banging kitchen pots, a common form of protest in the country), armed police have responded forcefully, using rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons. Thousands of demonstrators have been arrested. Three people were killed by a fire in a looted supermarket.
In reaction to the initial protests, billionaire Chilean Sebastian Pinera scrapped the initial fair increase and has since laid out a broad proposal to address inequality. The protests have morphed into a general strike, endorsed by trade unions.
Here’s a look at the past week in Chile:
Demonstrators protest against the increase in the subway ticket prices in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 18.
A subway ticket office is seen on fire during a protest against the increase in the subway ticket prices in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 19.
A demonstrator gestures in front of a soldier during a protest against the increase in subway ticket prices on Oct. 19.
Smoke from a fire at a supermarket rises to the sky during a protest against the government in Valparaiso on Chile Oct. 19.
Chilean soldiers gather near demonstrators, one of whom holds a Chilean flag, during a protest against Chile’s state economic model in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 20.
A riot police water cannon sprays water towards demonstrators during a protest in Santiago on Oct. 21.
Demonstrators are sprayed by security forces with a water cannon in Santiago on Oct. 22.
A demonstrator holding a sign walks in front of security forces as protests against high living costs continue, in Concepcion, Chile on Oct. 22.
People take part in a rally in Valparaiso, Chile on Oct. 23. The placards read: “Chile woke up”, “Up freedom” and “We are not at war, we educate for peace”.
A demonstrator gestures in front of an armored vehicle during a protest against Chile’s state economic model in Santiago, Chile Oct. 23, 2019.
Demonstrators carry a locker during a protest against Chile’s state economic model in Santiago, Chile on Oct. 23.
A demonstrator holds a flag that reads “New Constitution” during a protest in Santiago on
View of a looted supermarket during a protest against President Sebastian Piñera on Oct. 23 in Santiago.