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Rally of Chile axed as deadly unrest grips country

AFP-JIJI

Chile’s round of the 2020 world rally championship was axed on Thursday, the latest high-profile event cancelled in the wake of violent unrest in the troubled South America nation which has left 23 people dead.

“It’s with great sadness that we have cancelled the scheduled race, it’s official,” said Mauricio Melo, the president of Chile’s motorsports federation, adding that security measures could not be guaranteed.

The Rally of Chile had been set for April 16-19, the same month that a referendum on a new constitution takes place.

Chile is currently in the grip of its worst social crisis in three decades.

Furious Chileans have since October 18 been protesting social and economic inequality, and against an entrenched political elite that comes from a small number of the wealthiest families in the country, among other issues.

As well as fatalities, the crisis has led to around 2,000 injuries, including some 280 people who suffered eye damage from shotgun pellets.

Elsewhere in the country’s sporting landscape, the national football championship has been suspended while star players Arturo Vidal of Barcelona and Inter Milan’s Alexis Sanchez decided to support protestors and refuse to play in a friendly against Peru in Lima last week.

The final of the Copa Libertadores was also switched from Santiago to Lima as a consequence of the crisis.

Melo, meanwhile, insisted that the 2021 and 2022 editions of the Rally of Chile would go ahead as planned.