Santiago protests cause metro shut down, looting, curfews and flight cancellations

Aaerial view of Santiago skyline at sunset with Costanera skyscraper and Andes Mountains - Santiago, Chile

Travellers are being warned to exercise caution in the Chilean capital of Santiago after violent protests resulted in 11 deaths, disruptions to public transport and a curfew.

The protests are in response to a rise in metro fare prices, but reports indicate they extend to reflect anger towards the rising cost of living over the last 30 years.

The military and police have used tear gas against protesters and a state of emergency has been declared in Santiago and cities in the north and south, according to BBC News.

According to Eclipse Travel, a curfew has been put in place from 10pm to 7am and public transport has been affected. The company is working with its partners on the ground to ensure clients are kept clear of affected areas to minimise disruption.

Smart Traveller has updated its advice for Santiago, Valparaiso, Chacabuco, Concepcion, Coquimbo, La Serena, Puente Alto, Rancagua and San Bernado telling Australians to exercise a high degree of caution.

“Pay close attention your personal security at all times and monitor media about possible new safety or security risks,” the Smart Traveller website said.

“Avoid protests, follow advice from local authorities and obey curfews,”

The country’s president Sebastián Piñera said the country was “at war” with a violent enemy at a press conference on Monday.

The BBC reported that almost all public transport was suspended in Santiago over the weekend and some flights at the international airport were cancelled or suspended due to crew shortages. At least one of the city’s metro lines is expected to reopen on Monday local time after the entire system shut down due to damage.

11 people have died as a result of the violence, including five who were killed when looters torched a factory, three were killed in a supermarket fire and three have been reported dead with no details of the circumstances around their deaths as yet.

“Client safety is our top priority and we have been in constant contact with our operators on the ground to ensure all passengers are aware of the situation and alternative arrangements have been organised where necessary,” Matt McMillan, the director of Eclipse Travel, said.

“We have representatives at Santiago Airport to assist arriving and departing passengers whilst transport remains affected and will continue to do so until the situation clears up.”

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