One man has been shot dead by the military and over 160 arrested for expropriating necessities in parts of southern Chile, which are suffering a near total lack of basic commodities following a massive earthquake on Saturday morning.
Various voices are starting to emerge from the devastated region, denouncing the urgency of the Chilean government - under the control of left-of-centre Michele Bachelet until she hands over to right wing Sebastián Piñera on 11 March - in deploying thousands of soldiers and police blockading supermarket entrances against 'looters' instead of initiating a comprehensive aid effort.
Many groups, in calling for civil disobedience against the machine-gun wielding military on their rubble-strewn street corners, have drawn comparisons with the military dictatorship of 1973-90. Some parts of the country, such as the rural area around Concepción (Chile's second city), are completely devoid of even the most rudimentary services, implying that Bachelet et al are prepared to let their citizens starve in order to assert the "rule of order".
The chaos in the quake zone has been further compounded by contradictory statements from on high: while one missive ordered supermarkets to distribute basic foodstuffs for free, a regional military commander promised a "severe response" to looting. And as the desperate and the hungry start to target smaller, less well-protected businesses, authorities in Concepción - as well as the regions of Maule and Bio Bio, amongst others - have imposed an indefinite, military-enforced curfew from 9pm-6am. The efficiency of the military in protecting shopfronts is in marked contrast with the clumsiness of the relief effort, which has already seen disaster in the crash landing of a plane on its way to Concepción, killing six aid workers.
Meanwhile, in Santiago, the nation's capital, two occupied social centre reported material damage to their buildings, with others yet to make public pronouncements. Inmates in one Santiago area prison took advantage of the chaos following the 8.8 Richter scale quake - which currently has a death count of well over 700 nationally - to initiate a large-scale escape, with over 200 prisoners breaking free. Around 130 individuals are still at large. The physical well-being - and location - of a number of 'anarchist' prisoners in the Santiago region are still yet to be clarified.
News is also nervously awaited from a number of groups and initiatives in the north of the country. Updates will be posted to Libcom as and when they emerge.