Following five consecutive days of protests, clashes with the police and escalating public unrest, this Friday evening, the Chilean Government invoked its State Security Law to face the chaos that a fare hike in the Santiago Metro produced.

Basically, it allows to prosecute and hold accountable those responsible of crimes against public order during riots and manifestations.

The Government also closed the entire Metro network, which spans 140 kilometers across seven lines.

This left hundreds of thousands of people relying on the flawed and highly critised bus system (Transantiago), taxis and apps to reach their destinations.

It is not clear when the service will resume. According to the secretary of Transport, Gloria Hutt, Metro is expected to be closed until “it is safe to operate again”.

The decision shocked many, as Metro is rarely closed. It even operated on 28 February 2010, a day after central Chile was hit with an 8.8 magnitude quake.

Daily, around three millions passengers use Metro to go around the city, which accounts for roughly a third of the country’s population.

On Monday, high school students started calling for people to dodge paying fares. This incited uprisings as days went by and ended this Friday with major riots even in front of the presidential palace, La Moneda.

Nevertheless, no one has announced any plans to freeze the fares that, in rush hour, reached 830 pesos, around US$1,17.