The current unrest in Chile was triggered by a sudden 4% price rise in fares in Santiago’s Metro system, leading to a wave of civil disobedience initially spearheaded by students on October 14th.
The government’s response has been to mobilise the army onto the streets and impose curfews on all the major cities. There have been reports of violence against protesters, with numerous videos appearing on social media of police and armed forces using excessive force and reports of live rounds being used. Although reports are mixed, the death toll is estimated to be around 15, with many more missing and around 2,400 detained.
The outpouring of discontent in response to the fare increases was compounded by ongoing tensions about rising levels of social inequality suffered by many Chileans. Chile has the highest level of income inequality in the OECD, despite being one of Latin America’s richest countries.