Chile’s Pinera Fires Top Economic Ministers Amid Protests

Chile will deploy its Armed Forces in the south of the country to control an increase in arson attacks against forest and transport infrastructure, and amid a series of clashes between the police and groups in favor of indigenous rights.

President Sebastián Piñera decreed a state of emergency in four provinces: Bío Bío, Arauco, Malleco and Cautín, which have been the center of the attacks. The measure allows the deployment of the Armed Forces in the area for 15 days to help the local police. The measure can later be extended.

Between 2016 and the first half of 2021 there were around 550 attacks in the region, according to an analysis of complaints presented by the newspaper La Tercera. Many were awarded by groups that support the Mapuche people.

The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.

The Mapuches demand the return of their ancestral lands taken in a series of military operations at the end of the 19th century, which some groups describe as genocide.

While The Mapuches intensify their campaign for autonomy and land, groups of truckers have blocked roads in recent days demanding safer working conditions in the region.

“These acts of violence compromise public order, the rule of law and affect peaceful coexistence”, said Pinera in a televised act. “The inhabitants of these territories live in constant fear and with a deep sense of helplessness.”

JFG

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