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Deadly Chilean Protests

Demonstrations and deadly clashes continued in Chile on Tuesday, leading to the deaths of at least 15 people, according to various media reports.

Roughly half of Chile's 16 regions remained under an emergency decree and some were under military curfew, CBS News reports. It marks the first time a military curfew has been imposed for demonstrations since Chile returned to democracy in 1990 following a 17-year dictatorship.

The unrest began last week when a rise in subway fares led to student protests, some of whom jumped station turnstiles. But the movement turned violent Friday as demonstrators set fire to buses and a building, as well as a train station.

According to an assessment report issued Wednesday by the Healix Global Security Operations Centre, the protests have morphed into a broader expression of discontent over the cost of living because Chile has one of the highest levels of income inequality in Latin America. The movement has primarily been led by the working class and students; but since much of the unrest has occurred near metro stations, many bystanders have been caught up in the violence.

The situation escalated in other parts of the country, as well. Protesters in the San Isidro area of Santiago reportedly set the central office of electricity company Enel alight, according to the Healix report. Burning roadblocks were erected in several locations around Santiago, and a bus was set on fire in Plaza Italia.

In response to the protests, security forces have used tear gas and rubber bullets. Almost 10,000 troops were also deployed on 19 October in Santiago, Concepcion, and Valpraiso. An overnight curfew has been implemented in the three cities as well, according to Healix.

“Although the protests were triggered by the transport fare hike, general discontent over the rising cost of living has been growing for months. Unrest on a similar scale is likely to continue into the coming week,” Healix said in its situational assessment. The firm recommends travelers avoid all metro stations, bus stops, and ongoing protest areas.