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The Government of Chile deploys the Armed Forces in the Southern Macrozone and does not rule out the intervention of the Army in a conflict

Since this Thursday, the Chilean Navy carries out patrols and controls in the South Macrozone of the country, within the framework of the state of exception declared by the Government after registering a “serious disturbance of public order”.

The measure responds to a series of incidents attributed to Mapuche communities due to a territorial dispute, and the authorities award radicalized groups some of the arson attacks and land seizures that occur with some frequency in the region.

This Friday, the head of Chile’s National Defense for the southern provinces of Arauco and Bío Bío, Jorge Parga, acknowledged that an Army intervention is not ruled out in the event of clashes in the area.

However, Parga clarified that the Police must act first, and that the Army troops would only act if the other institution requests it. “We will be in support and of course we will fulfill the functions that are required in that instance”, said the rear admiral in statements collected by radio Bíobío.

The state of exception “allows the armed forces to collaborate, but not to replace the forces of order and security, that is, the Carabineros and the Investigative Police and, therefore, they will not be able to participate autonomously and directly in operations. that they are of a police nature, “says the decree of President Sebastián Piñera, which is valid for 15 days.

The measure applies to the provinces of Bío Bío and Arauco, in the Bío Bío region; and in Malleco and Cautín, in La Araucanía, where most of the Mapuche population lives. There the presence of 900 armed soldiers, 3 helicopters, 10 armored cars and 5 Army all-terrain vehicles. According to the president, the exception occurs in the face of “serious and repeated acts of violence linked to drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime.”

Opposing critics

The militarization of the southern region of Chile has drawn criticism from the opposition. Cristián Peña, mayor of the city of Lebu and president of Arauco 7, an association of seven municipalities, pointed out that the government should have prioritized the dialogue.

“Hopefully this will work and help generate greater tranquility for the people of the province of Arauco. Many times the Government covers its ear in not understanding that the solution is not only in force“Peña commented after a meeting of communal authorities in which they highlighted the fear that the military presence in the streets would result in a” bloodbath. ”

For his part, the governor of Bío Bío, Rodrigo Díaz, regretted that “not even” had been informed of the measure adopted by Piñera.

In recent weeks, in protest at the violent acts that occurred in the area, groups of truckers blocked various routes in the sectors where the state of emergency will be applied.

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