Chile truckers protest rising crime in threat to mine transport

Stock image.

Truck drivers in Chile staged protests Monday in the mineral-rich north of the country and around the capital Santiago, demanding greater safety amid an up-tick in violent crime.

Drivers at small and mid-sized transport firms belonging to the Northern Force Confederation, or CTFN by its Spanish initials, partially blocked highways near the northern cities of Arica and Coquimbo and on the outskirts of Santiago, snarling morning traffic. There were no immediate reports of disruptions at Chile’s giant copper and lithium operations.

The protests are the latest sign of growing concern over law and order issues, with polls showing crime and immigration as voters’ top worries. While murder rates came down slightly last year, 2022 saw a nearly 50% surge, prompting the government to respond with the biggest security spending hike in eight years.

The measures are insufficient, according to CTFN, which is calling for the tightening of border controls, highway checkpoints and the deployment of military personnel. Chile is the world’s biggest supplier of copper, despite production slumping to a two-decade low, and the world’s second-largest producer of lithium.

(By James Attwood)


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