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Third death as protests grow in Chile

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Santiago (AFP)

A man died of carbon monoxide poisoning after a supermarket was torched in Chile's capital Santiago on Friday, bringing the death toll from a resurgence in violent unrest rose to three.

A mob looted and then set fire to the supermarket in southern Santiago in the early hours of Friday.

When firefighters arrived they found a dead man aged 30 to 40 and two other people suffering from signs of asphyxiation.

A young man died after being hit by a hijacked bus on Wednesday, and a football fan was killed on Tuesday when hit by a police van.

The latest victim died from "asphyxiation by inhaling carbon monoxide," police chief Carolina Nunez told local media.

Another supermarket in the capital was looted overnight while police arrested 16 people.

Burning barricades could be seen in several roads in Santiago on Friday morning.

Protests that flared up in October seemed to have died down in recent weeks, during the summer holidays in Chile. But this week has seen a spike in violent protests with another demonstration set for Friday.

More than 30 people have died in protests that began initially as a reaction to a modest hike in metro fares in the capital.

They quickly mushroomed into wider discontent at inequality and the rejection of billionaire President Sebastian Pinera and his government.

Pinera has launched a raft of measures to try to quell the unrest, including a rise in the minimum wage and state pensions, and health reforms.

He will also hold a referendum in April on changing the dictatorship-era constitution.

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