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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Man dies in street protests as Chilean president delivers keynote speech

Protests take place in front of a burning pharmacy in Valparaiso, Chile (AP)
Protests take place in front of a burning pharmacy in Valparaiso, Chile (AP)

Violent protests have broken out in Chile as President Michelle Bachelet presented a state-of-the-nation report to Congress.

One man has reportedly died of asphyxiation after masked demonstrators burned a pharmacy and a supermarket in Valparaiso, which is where the South American nation's congress meets.

Local TV broadcast images of smoke rising from different parts of the city. Government spokesman Marcelo Diaz condemned the man's death in comments to TVN television.

The protest began as a peaceful march but turned rough as some demonstrators threw rocks at police and petrol bombs at buildings.

Officers responded with tear gas and high-pressure blasts of water.

Ms Bachelet emphasised achievements such as a reform guaranteeing free education in her speech on Saturday. She called it a process from which "there is no turning back".

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