Five People Dead After Looters Set Garment Factory on Fire During Chile Protests

Five people have died after a garment factory was set ablaze by looters near Chile’s capital Santiago amid a wave of protests.

The military and police used tear gas and water cannon against demonstrators, and a night-time curfew was imposed in major cities.

The unrest, sparked by a now suspended metro fare hike, has widened to reflect anger over living costs and inequality.

President Sebastián Piñera has defended the government’s response.

“I’m convinced that democracy not only has the right, it has the obligation to defend itself using all the instruments that democracy itself provides, and the rule of law to combat those who want to destroy it,” he said after an emergency meeting with officials.

Protests continued across the country despite a state of emergency in five regions declared by Mr Piñera on Friday, allowing authorities to restrict people’s freedom of movement and their right to assembly.

Thousands of soldiers and tanks have been sent to the streets of the capital and other cities for the first time since 1990, when Chile returned to democracy after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

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