A group of masked assailants burned three lorries in Chile's Araucanía region four days after the government of President Gabriel Boric decided not to extend the state of emergency on that area some 670 kilometers south of Santiago.
The attack took place Wednesday evening near the Pililmapu bridge, between Capitán Pastene and Lumacohours, just hours after Undersecretary of the Interior Manuel Monsalve was denied passage.
Seven suspects stopped the trucks and forced their drivers out before setting the vehicles on fire, Police Colonel Cristián Mansilla told reporters. The perpetrators then fled in different directions, Mansilla explained.
Banners supporting Mapuche demands were found at the scene.
Four days ago, President Boric had decided not to ask Congress to renew the state of constitutional exception in the four provinces of Araucanía. The new authorities are promoting dialogue to avoid the escalation of violence.
Monsalve had been unable to reach the town of Cañete because his motorcade was blocked and blunt objects were thrown at it by a group of unidentified people.
We had an agenda that we had to change the location because the road was taken. This is what many inhabitants of the province of Arauco are experiencing, which is precisely part of what we have to resolve, Monsalve explained.
People must have security and tranquility to move within their territory, to guarantee their physical integrity and that is precisely the mandate of the President: to recover dialogue, to recover the presence of the State, and to assume that here we have a highly complex political conflict, he added. We are not going to stop in the face of obstacles, he underlined.
We have to assume that there is a historical debt with the Mapuche people, denial of rights, that there has been an exclusion of the Mapuche people, and that, therefore, dialogue must take up that demand, he went on.