On 6 October 2019, a new fare increase in Santiago's public transport system came into effect. After this fact, which increased the fare by $30, hundreds of students organised themselves to carry out acts of mass evasion in the metro, as a form of protest against the abuse and the constant increases in the transport system. As the days went by, the evasions and protests increased, and confrontations between the police and the students were recorded inside the metro, until on 18 October the government decreed the suspension of the underground service. Faced with this decision, the citizens, who found it extremely difficult to move around the capital, showed their support for the students and spontaneously began to gather to protest in different parts of the city.
On that day, October 18, hundreds of demonstrators were seen in the streets, confronting the police. The transport hike triggered the anger and resentment that 30 years of state abuses had kept silent, where socio-economic inequality widened its gap, keeping the population surviving on debt and credit.
In the early morning of 19 October, in the wake of the riots, violence across the country and burnt buildings and metro stations, President Sebastián Piñera decreed a state of emergency and curfew. This measure was imposed for the first time since the arrival of democracy in the country. The military returned to the streets, which generated greater indignation due to the violence of the dictatorship and the wounds that the country has still not managed to heal with justice.
Protests took place on a daily basis, with more and more demonstrators and also with more violence and repression by the police and state forces. On October 25, despite the government's repressive measures, citizens once again took to the centre of the capital, to the renowned Plaza Dignidad, in what would become the largest gathering in the country's history, with more than one million people across Chile, to demand the resignation of the president and structural changes in the country's socio-economic system. A year after this massive demonstration, the historic plebiscite was held to change the country's constitution, which was the result of citizen and social protests.
There were almost 5 months of constant protests in the centre of the capital and the rest of the country, interrupted only by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, reports by the INDH and other international human rights organisations indicate that 34 people died as a result of alleged state action in confrontations between demonstrators and the police, 25,000 people were arrested and 460 victims of eye trauma as a result of pellets and tear gas bombs fired by the police.