Chile truckers block roads, protest death blamed on migrants
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Truckers angry over the the alleged slaying of a driver at the hands of undocumented migrants blocked major highways in northern Chile on Friday, prompting the cancellation of flights to closed-off airports.
Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado said protesters had blocked highways in five places and he demanded they open them.
The protests erupted after reports that a trucker was killed during an altercation with several migrants on Thursday in the town of Mejillones, some 1400 kilometers (870 miles) north of the capital, Santiago.
Police Gen. Gonzalo Castro said three migrants had been detained in the death of a young driver who reportedly fell from an overpass during a scuffle. Officials had given few details of the circumstances.
Santiago’s main international airport posted a statement on Twitter saying some flights to the northern city of Iquique had been cancelled because access to the airport there was blocked.
Residents of the region have staged several demonstrations against migrants, many of them people from crisis-wracked Venezuela who entered Chile from Bolivia and whom they blame for rising crime in the desert region.
Impromptu camps of migrants have sprung up around the region, sometimes with hundreds of people arriving daily.
The government of the country of 19 million people estimates it holds some 1.5 million migrants,