Government declares state of emergency in south amid truckers’ protest

SANTIAGO – The government has imposed a state of emergency in the so-called south macrozone in La Araucanía and Arauco. The move comes after weeks of truck drivers blocking roads in protest of attacks they suffer. The measure is expected to last 15 days.

President Sebastián Piñera has declared a state of emergency for Malleco and Cautín provinces in La Araucanía and Arauco regions.The measure will remain in place for 15 days and comes after week-long protests by truck drivers against continuous attacks, which they claim the state does nothing to prevent.

Under the state of emergency, the government claims extensive powers to reestablish public security, including ramped-up police presence. The measure could be extended for another 15 days if the situation doesn’t improve.

The drivers have blocked major highways, demanding authorities put measures in place to prevent attacks. Truckers reported arson attacks and having been shot at.

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Route 160 has been the most affected with three consecutive blockades this week alone. Route 5 South, a major link in the area, has also been subject to  disruptions.

Similar blockades have become common in recent years. A convoy even drove to government palace La Moneda to deliver demands to then-president Michelle Bachelet.

Governor Luciano Rivas told news outlet Cooperativa that more control is needed. “What we do not want in La Araucanía are more deaths nor violence and we hope to have a peaceful region, where all can prosper, and that free movement will be a constant and not a privilege for some.”

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