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Protesters in Chile reject reform proposal, face water cannon & tear gas as unrest continues (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Protesters in Chile reject reform proposal, face water cannon & tear gas as unrest continues (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Smoke and tear gas filled the air in Santiago as demonstrators clashed with riot police on the city’s seventh day of protests – sparked by ballooning public transportation fees – after a promise of reform failed to end the unrest.

Tens of thousands gathered in the streets of Chile’s capital on Thursday to join the chaotic demonstrations, in which some 200 have been injured and at least 18 killed, facing police water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas. In addition to the police presence, around 20,000 soldiers have been deployed to quell the protests, carrying out over 5,000 arrests in the country since last Friday.

Late on Tuesday, President Sebastian Pinera extended an official apology and vowed to roll out social reforms to address the grievances – including lowered electricity and medical costs and a hike in government pensions, among other things.

“It's true – problems have not occurred in recent days. They have been accumulating for decades,” Pinera said in his apology.

However, after declaring “war” on the demonstrations earlier this week, the president seems to have failed to convince the protesters.

As the riots continue, Santiago is largely paralyzed, with several subway stations and schools closed down, while some roadways remain blocked by flaming barricades constructed by protesters, who have also torched a number of train stations. Curfews have been introduced in the city, along with a national state of emergency, further clamping down on travel.

Also on rt.com ‘We are at war!’ Chile extends curfew, 1,000s of soldiers patrol streets as death toll in violent riots mounts (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

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