NATIONAL Social Crisis

Truck drivers protest lack of safety by blocking part of Ruta 5 Sur

Dozens of trucks blocked a portion of the Ruta 5 Sur in a demonstration demanding more security after last week’s attacks in the Southern Macorozone. After a series of attacks which left several people injured at the end of last week in La Araucanía, truck drivers have become increasingly worried. The regional prosecutor’s office reported that they are currently investigating these issues.

Dozens of trucks have been blocking part of Ruta 5 Sur in protest of the current conditions being endured by drivers in the Southern Macrozone which are deemed highly unsafe. “We have not seen any solution. They removed the State of Exception, but what are we going to do now?” one of the drivers told 24 Horas. There has been  increasing concern around the safety of truck drivers after several attacks took place in the past few weeks.

In the early hours of Friday, Apr. 22, a man was shot in the head as he was driving south along Ruta 5 in Ercilla (La Araucanía). The victim, a truck driver, was attacked by a group of unidentified men before his vehicle veered off the road and was overturned. The man, who was identified as 35-year-old Ciro Palma Toro, was immediately rushed to the Temuco hospital where he is currently in critical condition.

According to information from the regional prosecutor’s office, evidence of the use of military assault weapons corresponding to a 7.62 rifle and a 5.56 rifle was collected at the scene.

 

A few meters before the incident, a minivan was also intercepted and set on fire, which left several people injured. The victims were transported to the Collipulli hospital and traffic was momentarily suspended from north to south on Route 5.

The Mapuche Malleco Resistance group took responsibility for the event. A banner belonging to the movement, which stated various threats against the president, ministers, and judiciary while demanding freedom for Mapuche “political prisoners” was also found at the scene of the attack. These incidents occurred in the midst of Undersecretary of Interior Manuel Monsalve’s visit to La Araucanía.

Several other acts of violence took place on Thursday evening in the region as well. Three trucks were destroyed by the Arauco Malleco Coordinator group in Collipulli and barricades were set on fire during a demonstration on the Victoria-Curacautín International Route, where at least one person was injured.

These latest incidents prompted the Confederation of Truck Owners to demand more frequent patrolling and a more serious government commitment to ensuring their safety in the Southern Macrozone after the State of Emergency came to an end on Mar. 26.

According to information relayed by Regional Prosecutor Roberto Garrido, the High Complexity Prosecutor’s Office will be in charge of the respective investigation, while the Victims and Witnesses Unit is currently contacting those affected by the incident.

 

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