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, this legal body seeks to prosecute and hold accountable those responsible of crimes against public order during riots and manifestations.

It also ordered the shutdown of the entire Metro network, which spans 140 kilometers across seven lines.

This measure 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”.

This decision shocked many, as Metro is rarely closed. It even functioned the day after 27 February 2010, when central Chile was hit with an 8.8 magnitude quake.

Daily, around three millions passengers use Metro to go around the conurbation, 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, neither Hutt, the Home secretary, Andrés Chadwick; nor Metro president, Louis de Grange; announced any plans to freeze the fares that, in rush hour, reached 830 pesos, US$1,17.