SANTIAGO (HPD) — The Chilean Congress on Tuesday approved a new request by President Gabriel Boric to extend for an additional 15 days a state of emergency that allows him to continue using the armed forces to protect highways and routes in two affected southern regions. by constant arson attacks.
The state of emergency, which must be renewed every 15 days, has been in force since mid-May in the region of La Araucanía and in two provinces of Biobío, 600 kilometers south of the Chilean capital, where although the attacks have decreased, they have not stopped. completely, according to the authorities.
The senators supported the extension of the state of emergency by 30 votes in favor, one against and two abstentions. Earlier, the deputies gave their approval by 109 votes in favor, 23 against and three abstentions.
In the last two weeks and despite the validity of the state of exception, unknown persons have burned four trucks, a van and a crane; a forest watchtower was demolished and five adults and a minor were injured with pellets, according to police reports.
The majority of the population of La Araucanía and Biobío demand the restitution of ancestral lands by peaceful means, although there are also small groups that support their demands with arson attacks. In addition, criminals and drug traffickers commit violent acts, according to the authorities.
The Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, announced Tuesday before the plenary session of the deputies that, to replace the state of emergency, the government will present a bill to create another that it called “safeguard and protection,” which will allow the use of the military in security tasks, “without such strong restrictions of constitutional guarantees.” She detailed that it will last for about 60 days.
The current state of emergency is imposed in situations of disturbance of public order and allows the armed forces to restrict the rights of assembly and mobilization, which the military currently do not do because Boric’s decree focused its work on ensuring free transit.
Opposition deputy Jorge Alessandri criticized Tohá’s announcement because, he assured, it is news that will cause fear in the population due to the withdrawal of the military from guarding highways and roads in the area.