The operator of the metro in Santiago announced that all services have ceased as of 19:20 (local time) on Friday, October 19, and will remain suspended through to Sunday, October 20, due to damage sustained earlier in the day during violent protests. The operator says it intends to resume services on Monday, October 21.
Several thousand people participated in violent protests in the capital on Friday in opposition to the government's metro fare hike. Participants lit fires at the entrances to several metro stations, vandalized equipment such as electronic turnstiles, and pulled the emergency brakes in a number of trains. Police used tear gas to disperse and subsequently arrest dozens of protesters. Activists later took to the streets in the capital to block several roads, and reportedly set fire to the Enel building on Santa Rosa Street in downtown Santiago. Firefighters brought the blaze under control as of 23:00 and did not report any injuries. The area has been evacuated.
A heightened security presence and associated transport disruptions, including an increased demand for alternative means of transport, are expected in the coming hours and days across Santiago. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
On October 6, the Chilean government announced an increase in metro and bus fares. Students subsequently began jumping over metro turnstiles in protest at the fare-hike, leading to mass demonstrations in the capital over the perceived high cost of living.
Individuals in Chile, and in Santiago particularly, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, budget extra time to reach their destinations if traveling through areas affected by demonstrations, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities
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