Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Chilean police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons at the tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Santiago for a sixth day despite President Sebastian Pinera's promise of reforms to resolve issues of social inequality.
Deputy Secretary of the Interior of Chile Rodrigo Ubilla confirmed that death toll had risen to 18 on Wednesday after three people, including a 4-year-old child, were killed during protests that started nearly a week ago when activists rallied against a train ticket price hike that has since evolved into a movement against low pay, poor healthcare and worsening income inequality in the face of rising living costs.
On Tuesday, Pinera promised a slew of economic and social reforms, including an increase to the minimum wage, but it did little to assuage protesters who continued to protest with union leaders calling for a general strike.
Due to Wednesday's deaths, the government extended Santiago's curfew for a fifth day with schools canceled until Friday.
International human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch said it was "deeply concerned" about the ongoing protests and reports of police brutality.
"President Pinera should make clear to Chilean security forces that they need to respect human rights and ensure that agents implicated in abuses are promptly and impartially investigated," Americas director at Human Rights Watch Americas Director Jose Miguel Vivanco said in a statement.