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Chile protests: Five dead after looters torch garment factory

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Media texts Protesters and security forces clashed on a third day in Santiago

Five people have died after a garment factory was set on fire near Chile's capital Santiago amid a wave of protests .

The military and police used tear gas and water cannon against protesters, and one night curfew was introduced in major cities.

The concern, triggered by a now suspended subway increase, has been widened to reflect the anger over living costs and inequality.

President Sebastián Piñera has defended the government's response.

"I am convinced that democracy is not just right, but has the obligation to defend itself with all the instruments that democracy itself provides and the rule of law to fight those who want to destroy it," he said after an emergency meeting with officials.

The protest continued across the country despite an emergency in five regions declared by Mr Piñera on Friday, allowing authorities to restrict people's freedom of movement and their right to assembly.

Thousands of soldiers and tanks have been sent to the capital and other cities on the streets for the first time since 1

990, when Chile returned to democracy following Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

  • In pictures: Santiago in distress
  • Chile country profile

On Sunday, looting and murder continued and protesters set more buses on fire, crushed subway stations and collided with the riot police.

One night exit was introduced in the areas of Santiago, Valparaíso, Coquimbo and Biobío.

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Demonstrators clash with a riot police vehicle in Santiago

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The protests were triggered by a now suspended subway traffic increase

In Santiago, almost all public transport was interrupted, flights from the international airport and shops remained closed.

On Saturday, three people were killed in wildfire attacks in two supermarkets.

More than 1,400 people were detained in the country, officials said, while two people were hit by gunshot wounds following a collision with police.

Concern, the worst in decades, has been subject to divisions in the nation, one of the region's richest but also one of its most unequal and intensified calls for economic reform.

The Conservative president interrupted the rise of the Santiago metro price on Saturday, saying he had listened "with humility" to "the voice of my fellow countrymen."

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