Demonstrators in the Argentine province of Chubut set the Government House and other public buildings in the capital city of Rawson on fire to express their opposition to a mega-mining bill passed by the local legislature.
However, these protests achieved very little beyond material damages as Governor Mariano Arcioni passed it into law.
The facilities of the Superior Court of Justice are also on fire, as well as the Rawson square, the Government House, and the Legislature, local TV station AZM reported. Rawson is burning, everything is on fire.
Significant damage was observed on public roads, in addition to burning cars in the streets after 16 public buildings were reportedly attacked by protesters.
On Wednesday, in a surprise session, the province's Legislature passed the mining zoning project resisted by various sectors. The controversial project, criticized by the National University of Patagonia and by representatives of the National Science Committee (Conicet), was approved by 14 votes to 11.
Hours later, a group of protesters clashed with Rawson police with stones and rubber bullets. There were street fights between demonstrators and law enforceement both Wednesday and Thursday.
Other protests were staged at Puerto Madryn, Esquel and other cities in Patagonia in demand of a new law for the Zoning of Mining Activity.
The new initiative will allow chemical metal mining, silver, copper and lead, in some areas of the province, such as Telsen and Gastre, and is actively resisted by a good part of Chubut's social movements. As per the current legislation, mega-mining with the use of cyanide is forbidden in the province, except for a few locations yet to be determined.
Rawson's Santa Teresita hospital Director Paula Morales told Télam ”there were 11 patients with various minor injuries, most of them bruises, some injured from rubber posts and one patient treated for inhalation of gases.” Six of those patients were police officers, Morales added.