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Tear gas, water cannon as Chile protesters defy police in Santiago

Demonstrators clash with riot police during protests in Santiago, Chile. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Santiago, Chile Nov 07, 2019, 09.35 AM (IST)

Protesters and police faced off in the streets of Santiago on Wednesday (November 6), with officers using tear gas and a water cannon to disperse the crowd.

The protests started over a hike in public transport fares but have broadened to include poor pensions, the high costs of utilities, medication and road tolls as well as patchy public services such as healthcare and education.

At least 18 people have died and thousands been injured after two weeks of rioting, protests and looting.

President Sebastian Pinera has rejected the notion of resigning and believes he will reach the end of his term in just over two years despite intense anti-government sentiment roiling the country.

Chile's protests are part of a wave of unrest this year around South America, including protests against Bolivia's President Evo Morales over a disputed election and Ecuador's Lenin Moreno over economic liberalization reforms.