Chile's President Sebastián Piñera announced on Saturday the suspension of a rise in metro fares that sparked protests across the country. Soldiers and tanks were deployed in the capital, Santiago after the government declared a state of emergency but demonstrations continued on Saturday.
After some clashes, a night curfew was announced in restive areas. The protests have broadened to reflect general discontent about the high cost of living in one of Latin America's most stable countries.
The unrest, the worst in decades, has exposed divisions in the nation, one of the region's wealthiest but also one of its most unequal, and intensified calls for economic reforms.
Chile has the highest per capita income of Latin America at 20,000 dollars, with expected economic growth this year of 2.5% and just 2% inflation. But there is an undercurrent of frustration with rising health care, education and utility costs, low pensions and social inequality. The latest metro fare increase triggered the protests and rioting.
In parts of Santiago, hundreds of troops were deployed in the streets for the first time since 1990, when Chile returned to democracy after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
In the second day of violent demonstrations, protesters erected barricades and set buses on fire, and police used tear gas and water cannon. Clashes erupted in the city centre with Mayor Felipe Alessandri describing the situation as chaotic.
More than 300 people have been arrested, and 156 police injured, as were 11 civilians, police said.
Speaking on television, president Piñera, whose response to the protests has been criticized, said he had listened with humility to the voice of my compatriots and to discontent over the cost of living. He promised a wide ranging dialogue.
Gen Javier Iturriaga del Campo, who is in charge of security in Santiago under the state of emergency, said a curfew would be enforced between 22:00 and 07:00 (01:00-10:00 GMT) in the city and outlying areas.
The military is due to help police patrol the streets during a declared 15-day state of emergency that allows authorities to restrict people's freedom of movement and their right to assembly.
Earlier, cultural and sporting events were cancelled and shops remained closed. The city's underground system will remain shut down until Monday, with 41 of 136 stations vandalized.
Protests were also reported in the cities of Concepción, Rancagua, Punta Arenas, Valparaíso, Iquique, Antofagasta, Quillota and Talca, according to El Mercurio newspaper. In most cities people banged together pots and frying pans - a typically Latin American form of protest.
Meanwhile, a picture of President Piñera in an up market Italian restaurant eating pizza on Friday evening as police and demonstrators clashed in Santiago was heavily criticized on social media.
Critics said the image, reportedly during a birthday celebration for the president's grandson, were emblematic of a leader out of touch with ordinary Chilean