Chile Protests: Government Invokes Security Law

Protests over the price increase of the Santiago Metro spread throughout this city throughout Friday with protests and clashes on the streets, which led to the closure of all suburban lines and left thousands of people without a way to get home.

On the fifth day of protests in several Metro stations, with hundreds of young people entering stations without paying and facing the police,  near-riots have increased in various parts of the city.

Heavy fire consumed this Friday the building of the electricity distribution company Enel in the centre of Santiago de Chile after an alleged attack by strangers in the context of intense disturbances in different areas from the city, the company reported.

The central Plaza Italia, the usual place for social protests in Chile, has streets closed to traffic with barricades of metal fences and some bonfires.

The image is repeated in several parts of the Chilean capital, with damage to the external installations of Metro stations and clashes with the police.

Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick, after a meeting of several hours with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, invoked the state security law, legislation that could be used to sentence anyone for up to 10 years if convicted of vandalism or risking the country’s internal security.

“We have invoked the State Security Law for those who are guilty of causing damage to the Metro and its operation. We have filed complaints by the State Security Law that establishes very severe penalties,” Chadwick said.

The minister condemned the violence that has been provoked and said that these are “acts of vandalism that are executed by organized groups.”