Stunning wealth, poor services behind massive Chile protests

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — It’s not about a 4-cent hike in subway prices.

The decision to add 30 pesos to the cost of a ticket on Latin America’s most modern public transportation system this month drew little attention inside or outside Chile, at first. People quietly fumed. A week later, high-school students launched four days of turnstile-jumping protests. Crowds of angry youths built up inside metro stations.

With no warning, on the afternoon of Oct. 18, they set fire to stations, then trains. Then grocery and department stores went up in flames. But instead of blaming the protesters, Chileans used social media to call for protests against years of mismanagement.

Santiago exploded into a week street protests that culminated Friday with more than a million people gathering in the capital and other major cities.

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