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Soldiers patrol Chilean capital after violent protests

Soldiers patrol Chilean capital after violent protests”

Three people have died in a supermarket fire as angry protests in Chile entered their seventh day, the mayor of capital city Santiago said on Sunday.

"Two people burned to death and the third was taken to hospital in poor condition but later died", Karla Rubilar told reporters.

"We are going to suspend the metro fare hikes", Pinera said, adding that an urgent law will be required on the matter and that talks will be held to overcome this "difficult situation".

Troops patrolled the streets and a state of emergency and curfew remained in effect for six Chilean cities, but renewed protests continued after daybreak.

Political commentators and opposition parties have lambasted the response by Pinera's government to the protests, which started on October 7 and have grown in intensity amid widespread discontent over the high cost of basic goods and utilities.

Santiago and other Chilean cities have been engulfed by several days of rioting as protests over an increase in public transport costs prompted President Sebastian Pinera to declare a state of emergency.

The Santiago Metro, at 140 kilometres, is the largest and most modern in South America and a source of great pride for Chileans.

A day after violent scenes, protesters erected barricades and set buses on fire, and police used tear gas and water cannon.

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Louis de Grange, president of the state Metro S.A. company, told Canal 13 the "brutal destruction" of Santiago's metro service had caused more than Dollars 300 million in damage.

Soldiers reportedly returned to Santiago's streets Saturday for the first time since a devastating quake hit the country in 2010, The Guardian reports.

He also announced a working group to address the concerns of protesters.

She said: "We're sick and exhausted, enough already".

The spasm of unrest was triggered by a hike in metro fares, which increased from 800 to 830 peso ($1.70 AUD) for peak-hour travel, after a 20-peso hike in January.

Drone footage also shows the extent of the damage to the headquarters of Italian utility company Enel Chile, which was targeted on Friday.

But there is an undercurrent of frustration with an economic model that has virtually privatised all health care and education, at a time that falling pensions and rising costs of basic services have exacerbated existing social inequality.



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