UP to sixteen people have been killed in Chile after a week of protests at the country’s escalating cost of living.
Chilean student and former Falklands resident Francisco 'Frankie' Alzarez, studying in capital Santiago, said: " I honestly never thought I would live to see something like this, but the disconnection from reality that politicians have shown over the past few months added to the growing social discontent and it was a clear recipe for disaster."
The protests led the Chilean Government to declare a state of emergency and enforce a curfew in several towns and cities. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued specific travel advice following the demonstrations, and has urged travellers to check the advice prior to travelling as it is being updated on a twice-daily basis.
The unrest was triggered by a 3% increase in the price of metro fares in Santiago, which has since been overturned by the Chilean president, Sebastian Piñera.
The increase was nevertheless considered by many as the latest in a series of price hikes that have driven up the cost of living in Chile, contributing to ongoing inequality. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Chile is one of the most unequal countries among the 30 wealthiest nations.
Frankie told Penguin News: "In some ways things have quietened down, but we’re still far from normality.
"Despite the president’s announcements on Tuesday people are still on the streets – yesterday’s demonstrations were huge not only in Santiago but all over the country despite the state of emergency and curfews that are still being applied in some areas, Santiago included."
The FCO travel advice can be found on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/chile