Five people have reportedly died after a garment factory was set ablaze by looters near Chile’s capital Santiago amid a wave of violent protests.
Firefighters said they found five bodies inside a factory burned by rioters in a suburb of Santiago.
Chile Police authorities said More than 1,400 people were detained across the country, while two people suffered gunshot wounds after a clash with police.
Some 10,500 police and soldiers had been deployed to the streets, he said, and at least seven people had died in incidents related to the protests, without giving details
The military and police used tear gas and water cannon against protesters and a curfew was imposed in major cities.
A state of emergency already in place in Santiago is to be extended to cities in the country’s north and south.
The unrest, sparked by a now suspended metro fare hike, has widened to reflect anger over living costs and inequality.
In a late-night statement on television, President Sebastián Piñera said: “We’re at war against a powerful enemy, who is willing to use violence without any limits”.
Meanwhile, a state of emergency will be applied to Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Valdivia, Chillán, Talca, Temuco and Punta Arenas, allowing authorities to restrict people’s freedom of movement and their right to assembly.
Speaking to journalists, Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick said there had been 70 “serious incidents of violence”, including 40 looting’s of supermarkets and other businesses.
“We’re facing a real escalation that is undoubtedly organized to cause serious damage to our country and the lives of each of its citizens,” he said.
In Santiago, shops remained closed, almost all public transport was suspended and some flights at the international airport were cancelled or rescheduled because of insufficient crew.
At least one line of the city’s metro was expected to reopen on Monday after the entire system was closed on Friday because of the damage caused during the unrest, the worst to hit one of Latin America’s most stable countries in decades.