Chilean president Sebastian Piñera announced on Tuesday he sent Congress a bill requesting a further fifteen days extension of the state of emergency in four areas of the Biobío and Araucaria regions, where there have been violent breaches of law and order.
Under the exceptional emergency state umbrella, the Armed Forces have been called in support of the local police and Carabineros, who have faced shootouts and repeated incidents of arson against homes, forests camps and trucks loaded with logs, from radical groups belonging to the indigenous Mapuche people.
However, the Armed Forces will not replace the Carabineros in their law and order duties but will give logistics, technological, communications, transport, and video web support to police on the beat, pointed out Piñera in his message.
In the first twenty days of the current emergency, we have managed to lower the number of acts of violence in the two regions and have netted individuals with pending arrest orders, continued the Chilean president. But we must not lower our guard or fall into a false confidence since we must admit that violence is still present in those territories.
And although we are acting under a situation contemplated in the Constitution, we have not suspended or restricted any rights or constitutional guarantees of members of the communities and we have fully respected human rights
Therefore we urge congress to approve the extension of the emergency state, as well as other measures to contain violence. Since 2019 Chile is under the influence of the so-called social uprising, which almost toppled the elected government of Piñera, now seriously weakened.
To this must be added the ongoing outbursts of violence from radical groups among the indigenous Mapuches, who are also causing havoc on the other side of the Andes in Argentine Patagonia.
Mapuches are demanding the return of their ancestral lands and forests, now occupied by settlers and forestry companies. Mapuches argue the Chilean government must honour treaties signed under Spanish colonial rule and inherited by the newly born republic.