Santiago, Oct 21(AP/UNB) — Protests and violence in Chile spilled over into a new day and raged into Sunday night despite the president cancelling a subway fare hike that has prompted violent demonstrations.
Officials in the Santiago region said three people died in fires at two looted supermarkets early Sunday — among 60 Walmart-owned outlets that have been vandalized, and the company said many stores did not open during the day. Five more people later were found dead in the basement of a burned warehouse and were not employees, authorities said.
At least two airlines cancelled or rescheduled flights into the capital, affecting more than 1,400 passengers Sunday and Monday.
"We are at war with a powerful, relentless enemy that respects nothing or anyone and is willing to use violence and crime without any limits," President Sebastián Piñera said late Sunday in an unscheduled talk from the military headquarters.
Piñera, who is facing the worst crisis of his second term as head of the South American country, announced Saturday night that he was cancelling a subway fare hike imposed two weeks ago. The fare boost touched off major protests that included rioting that caused millions of dollars in damage to burned buses and vandalized subway stops, office buildings and stores.
After meeting with the heads of the legislature and judicial system earlier Sunday, Piñera said they discussed solutions to the current crisis and that he aims "to reduce excessive inequalities, inequities abuses, that persist in our society."
Jaime Quintana, president of the Senate, said that "the political world must take responsibility for how we have come to this situation."
Authorities said 10,500 soldiers and police officers were patrolling the streets in Santiago as state of emergency and curfew remained in effect for six Chilean cities, but protests continued during the day. Security forces used tear gas and jets of water to try disperse crowds.
Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick reported that 62 police officers and 11 civilians were injured in the latest disturbances and prosecutors said nearly 1,500 people had been arrested. He said late Sunday that there had been more than 70 "serious events" during the day, including more than 40 incidents of looting.
With transportation frozen, Cynthia Cordero said she had walked 20 blocks to reach a pharmacy to buy diapers, only to find it had been burned.
"They don't have the right to do this," she said, adding it was right to protest "against the abuses, the increases in fares, against bad education and an undignified pension, but not to destroy."
Long lines formed at gas stations as people tried to fill up for a coming workweek with a public transport system disrupted by the destructive protests. Santiago's subway, which carries an average of 2.4 million riders on a weekday, had been shut down since Friday.
Subway system chief Louis De Grange said workers would try to have at least one line running Monday, but he said it could take weeks or months to have the four others back in service. He said 85 stations and more than three-fourths of the system had been severely damaged.
Quito, Oct 10 (AP/UNB) — An indigenous leader and four other people have died in unrest in Ecuador since last week, the public defender's office said Thursday.
The state agency, which monitors human rights, identified the indigenous leader as Inocencio Tucumbi of Ecuador's Cotopaxi region.
The office of President Lenín Moreno, however, said the number of deaths was lower. It said two people had died in accidents linked to the violence across the country.
One person was hit and killed by a car, and another person suffered fatal injuries after a fall during protests in Quito, said José Briones, secretary general of the president's office.
There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy in the reports on the death toll.
Also Thursday, indigenous demonstrators were holding captive at least eight police officers following anti-government protests.
The uniformed officers were brought onto a stage by protesters who are based at a cultural center in the capital, Quito.
One of the officers was forced to drape a national flag around his shoulders and don a hat of a style worn by some indigenous people.
Indigenous leader Jaime Vargas invited the captive police to join the anti-government campaign of the protesters.
Elsewhere in Quito, security forces patrolled after a day of protests that included clashes with police.
Ecuador's indigenous groups as well as labor organizations and other demonstrators mobilized after the removal of fuel subsidies, a step announced by Moreno last week.
The announcement led to a sharp increase in fuel prices and unrest in many parts of the country. The discontent widened to include calls for the resignation of Moreno, who has refused to quit.
Indigenous protesters played a major role in the 2005 resignation of Ecuador's president at the time, Lucio Gutiérrez, though the military's tacit approval was key to his removal.
Ecuador's cuts in fuel subsidies were among measures announced as part of a $4.2 billion funding plan with the International Monetary Fund, which said the package will strengthen the economy and generate jobs.
Indigenous groups condemn the deal with the IMF, saying austerity measures will deepen economic inequality.
Brussels, Oct 10 (AP/UNB) — Former Ecuador President Rafael Correa is dismissing as "nonsense" allegations that he is plotting with Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro to destabilize the current Ecuador government amid violent unrest sparked by fuel price hikes.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Correa called for a new election to solve the crisis. He has been accused by his successor, Lenin Moreno, of trying to foment a coup. Correa said "Moreno says whatever he wants, but this is irrational ... it's ridiculous."
Correa, who settled in Belgium after he left office in 2017, faces an arrest warrants issued last year in Ecuador for alleged corruption.
Correa said "the solution is very clear ... to call for anticipated election in the case of very strong political crisis or social unrest. Exactly the situation that we have right now."
Sao Paulo, Oct 8 (AP/UNB) — Brazil's environment minister says more than 100 tons of oil has been spilled along the northeastern coast since the beginning of September.
Ricardo Salles said Monday on Twitter that 42 cities have been affected by the spills. He did not say how he reached those figures.
Brazilian police are investigating the origin of the oil, which has killed at least seven turtles and forced swimmers and fishermen to stay away from contaminated areas.
State-run oil giant company Petrobras said last week that the spilled oil isn't the type it produces.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is expected to receive a preliminary assessment on the spills this week.
Rio De Janeiro, Oct 6 (AP/UNB) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has instructed federal police and the navy to join an investigation of oil spills that have contaminated parts of the northeast coast in recent weeks.
The order, published in an official gazette on Saturday, escalates a probe into the pollution that environmental officials say has affected coastal waters and dozens of beaches.
Authorities say they have not determined the origin of the oil, which has killed some turtles and forced bathers and fishermen to stay away from contaminated areas.
State oil company Petrobras has conducted an analysis and says the spilled oil isn't the type that it produces.
Bolsonaro is urging security forces involved in the investigation to provide a preliminary assessment early next week.