ANTOFAGASTA – Karen Rojo, mayor of Antofagasta, criticized the current administration for its inaction in response to looting and violence in her city. After the events of October 18, most cities have returned to relative normality, except Antofagasta. The situation gained new urgency after the video of a burning train circulated on social media.
A video of a burning train from rail company Ferrocarril Antofagasta a Bolivia (FCAB) went viral on Monday when Antofagasta mayor Karen Rojo shared it on social media. Assailants attacked the railcar with rocks, forcing the workers to evacuate. The attackers then set it ablaze while it was still rolling. It fully stopped only after rolling for another kilometer.
Poner en riesgo vidas humanas en un ataque incendiario sin sentido a una locomotora en movimiento y que transportaba ácido sulfúrico, demuestra que la delincuencia no tiene límites. Llamo a todos a denunciar a los responsables y que se aplique el rigor de la ley #Antofagasta pic.twitter.com/2nHrDt0ZPw
— Karen Rojo Venegas (@karen_rojov) February 11, 2020
The event was condemned by Minister of Interior Gonzalo Blumel, who said “violence can’t have room in a democratic society and must be rejected.”
General Secretary of the Presidency Felipe Ward said, “we can’t get used to these types of events occurring in the Metropolitan region nor in the rest of the regions.”
In return, the mayor of Antofagasta criticized the administration’s reaction, saying “at the moment we haven’t received any information and no messages that would give tranquility to the community of Antofagasta, that’s why I’m asking for you to take this seriously.” This comes three weeks after she met with the regional government and with Blumel to request help in bringing order back to Antofagasta.
Thus far, the police have arrested only one person in connection with the attack. He is being processed under the Railway Law, which would mean between 64 and 540 days of prison for attacking a moving locomotive. Meanwhile, the mayor demanded the State Security Law be applied, which would carry harsher punishments.
Violence in Antofagasta
Violent crimes and looting have increased in the city of Antofagasta since the events of October 18, in contrast to Santiago where things have ostensibly cooled down. In the northern city, however, multiple clashes have occurred between the Carabineros police force and rioters. Mayor Rojo has criticized that police presence has diminished in the city and that authorities are overwhelmed without clear answer from anyone.
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.