Call for further militarization of Chilean south after new arson attack

An arson attack in the southern municipality of Traiguén, in which a school, a rural hospital, an ambulance, and a public building were burned, has also sparked calls in government for more action. The attack was most likely the work of a Mapuche resistance movement. Some politicians ask for a State of Siege, which would give the already present army more options to restore order.

After hooded men burned a rural hospital, a school, an ambulance, and a public building meant for meetings in the southern village of Traiguén, parliamentarians of the conservative opposition have demanded that the government take more measures to restore order in the La Araucanía region.

According to the parliamentarians, the government isn’t providing the armed forces, who have been present in the region since before the current government took office, with enough support. Flor Weisse (UDI) said the current State of Exception in the region is not enough and a State of Siege should be called, which would give the armed forces more liberty in restoring order. Among other things, they would be allowed to take over certain government roles and declare local curfew.

The people behind the attack are still unknown, but several Mapuche resistance organizations operate in the region, targeting government building and lumber machinery with arson attacks. After the Traiguén attack, experts pointed to Mapuche Malleco Resistance (RMM)

The Interior Minister Carolina Tohá said the attack had “terrorist characteristics.” “What objective does an attack of this type have other than to generate commotion and fear?”, she asked. “Leaving a community without its rural hospital, leaving a nurse with burns on her face – that is to say, it is really a level of evil to make an attack of this type.”

Mapuche leader Hector Llaitul’s trial being watched by human rights observers

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