SANTIAGO, Chile — Tens of thousands of protesters flooded Chile’s capital Wednesday, setting up flaming barricades and clashing with riot police after an apology and promises of economic reforms from President Sebastián Piñera failed to quell unrest and rioting that have led to at least 18 deaths.
Trade unionists in the world’s top copper-producing country joined demonstrators with a general strike in a movement that started with anger at a small rise in subway fares, but expanded into protests against inequality and to demand improvements in education, health care, and wages.
Police responded by spraying water cannons and firing rubber bullets and tear gas. Similar scenes were repeated elsewhere in the country.
Millions of students were still unable to attend classes, several subway stations were shut, and long lines continued to form outside gas stations and supermarkets.