Chilean President Announces State of Emergency

Chilean President Sebastian Piñera announces Friday night a state of emergency for the provinces of Santiago and Chacabuco.

The measure was taken to control protesters who have been demonstrating all this week against the increased Metro fare. Demonstrations and vandalism in the capital of Santiago have escalated Friday, as have national police repression against the mainly student protesters. The president said the state of emergency will be in place for these areas for the next 15 days, with a possible extension.

“We are taking this measure to assure public order and public safety in Santiago and to protect public and private properties,” announced Piñera in a brief press conference on Friday night in which he declared the state of emergency.

The president claimed that protesters “want to destroy the Metro and don’t respect their fellow country people. In a rule of law there is no room for vandalism that we’ve seen in the past few days.”

At the end of his statement Piñera said that his government “will call for dialogue with organizations to discuss the price of the Metro, which we understand affects many people.” State of emergencies allow the executive to militarize the designated areas and limit the public right to assembly and protest.