Three people have died in a fire inside a supermarket during a second night of violent protests in the Chilean capital.
Santiago’s mayor Karla Rubilar confirmed they were killed when a store was looted in the suburb of San Bernardo, the first deaths in a wave of unrest that has seen metro stations destroyed, buses set alight and shops ransacked across the city.
The violence was sparked by an 830 peso (£0.90) rise in metro fares, but has exposed deep discontent over inequality in a country believed to be Latin America’s most stable.
Demonstrations have spread to cities and towns throughout the country, from Iquique in the north to Punta Arenas in the south. States of emergency have now been declared in six cities in response to violence and looting.
On Saturday evening, Sebastián Piñera, the president, issued a long-awaited response to the unrest, and announced he would suspend the fare increase.
He said he had “listened with humility to the voice of my compatriots”, but added, “nobody has the right to act with brutal criminal violence”.
Shortly after, the military issued a curfew in Santiago, from 10pm to 7am, eerily reminding residents of General Augusto Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship.
Army General Javier Iturriaga said: "Having analysed the situation and the appalling actions that occurred today, I have made the decision to suspend freedoms and movement through a total curfew.”
Santiago has faced widespread destruction, with 41 of 136 metro stations vandalised. Cities have been clouded in smoke from buildings set ablaze and makeshift barricades formed in roads. Video footage has shown people walking out of ransacked supermarkets looting items from washing machines to bags of crisps.
Early on Saturday as Santiago recovered from the first night of unrest, the sound of pots and pans banged from apartment buildings and street corners – cacerolazo, a traditional form of protest that has become the soundtrack to the movement.
Carlos Torres, 43, was on the street with his wife and young daughter.
“Ultimately we’re here because of historical inequality in Chile. There are people who earn a lot, people who earn little. I consider it very beautiful because I am here with my family expressing social discontent. When it was Pinochet you could not do this.”
Peaceful protests in the city have seen violent responses from police and military forces. Torres and his family soon had to flee from teargas and water cannon thrown from armoured vehicles speeding along Santiago’s main avenue.
While many of the protesters disagree with the violence from citizens, one onlooker told The Telegraph: “If you kick a dog every day, some day the dog is going to bite you.”