A state of emergency was imposed in several cities around Chile amid violent clashes and arson attacks across the weekend.
Tear gas and water cannons were used against demonstrators, as military and police forces declared a night-time curfew to attempt to restore order.
The unrest was triggered by a subway fare increase, which has been suspended. However, the protests have increased, with rage over residing expenses and inequality simmering amongst demonstrators.
“We’re at war against a strong, implacable enemy, that doesn’t respect anything or anybody and who’s ready to use crime and violence with no limitations,” he explained.
Santiago was hit especially hard by looting and arson, with buses put on fire, subway stations crushed and riot police trying hard to quell the violence.
Chile is among the area’s wealthiest nations, but the riots have exposed branches over increasing inequality and intensified calls for economic reforms. The sight of tanks and soldiers in the streets has not been seen since 1990, when Chile returned to democracy.