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The Chilean Senate approved on Tuesday the extension of the state of emergency constitutional exception in the regions of La Araucanía and Biobío, in the south of the country, requested by President Sebastián Piñera as a result of the series of violent attacks registered recently in the area by unknown assailants.
"The Senate Chamber approved by 19 votes in favor, 15 against and one abstention, the extension of the state of constitutional exception in the regions of La Araucanía and Biobío", informed the upper chamber through a communiqué.
The request had already obtained approval from the Chamber of Deputies, which means that the measure will be extended for another 15 days, from December 26 to January 10.
On October 12, Piñera issued the first state of emergency decree in La Araucanía and Biobío to be able to deploy the Armed Forces in the area and control the wave of arson attacks and robberies that have been registered in both regions in recent years.
Since that date, the President has asked Congress four times to extend the militarization and legislators voted in favor each time.
On November 3, three weeks after the state of emergency began, Navy officers participated in a shootout against an armed group in an incident that ended with the death of a Mapuche community member in the commune of Cañete (south).
It is still being investigated whether the victim had any relation to the incident or whether his death was due to some recklessness on the part of the sailors.
Although Piñera justifies the measure by citing an alleged "disturbance of public order", the fact is that the state of emergency prevents native communities from gathering and calling for mobilizations in defense of their territory.
A report by the Diego Portales University recognizes the increase in violence in Araucanía, but points out that this has also been part of the rejection of the militarization in the area, which has been carried out despite the recommendations of international organizations.
The study specifies that militarization in the area increases repression and does not achieve agreements in favor of peace and stability in the Southern Macrozone.