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Saturday, 23 January 2021

Tear gas, arson and a hug mark Chile's protests

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Tear gas, arson and a hug mark Chile's protests
Tear gas, arson and a hug mark Chile's protests

Thousands of Chileans are mounting a movement against inequality, in a country once known for being one of the most wealthy and stable regions in Latin America.

Michelle Hennessy reports.

Tear gas shots echoed through Chile's capital on Wednesday (October 23).

Riot police moved in on protesters, as a nationwide movement against inequality threatens Chile's gold status in the region.

Santiago has been under a military lockdown for five straight nights.

Officials ordered the curfew to try to quell the unrest.

Video obtained by Reuters showed armed police kicking, shoving and hitting people with batons.

Other footage shows protesters taunting the police, before getting doused with water cannon.

Chile's known as one of Latin America's wealthiest and most stable countries.

But tens of thousands have taken to the streets after the government hiked up the price of public transport.

Chile's billionaire president has apologized and promised social reforms: A guaranteed minimum wage and an increase in the state pension.

But the protesters are demanding more.

More than six thousand people have been charged since Saturday (October 19), and several people have been killed.

But among days of looting, arson and tear gas - rare signs of unity are giving the movement hope.

A protester and a police officer shared an emotional embrace at a rally on Monday (October 21).

People chanted around them, saying the people united, will never be defeated.

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