Dozens of protesters kicked and threw rocks at a minibus carrying Argentine President Alberto Fernandez on Saturday as he visited an area devastated by forest fires, TV footage confirmed.
As he left a community center within the city of Lago Puelo within the southern Patagonia region, Fernandez needed to take refuge behind a wall of people as a crowd of demonstrators pushed towards him and his delegation.
The protesters later stopped the bus carrying the president, punching and kicking it and throwing stones that broke windows in the car, according to footage broadcast by the TN network and the newspaper Clarin.
Fernandez sought to downplay the violence, saying it was the work of a small number of folks.
“I’m certain that this violence was not taken part in by the folks of Chubut nor by those that inhabit our beloved Argentina,” he wrote, referring to the province the surrounds the city.
With few police available, the gang managed to halt the president’s bus and other vehicles in his entourage for several minutes, with some protesters throwing themselves towards the hood of Fernandez’s vehicle.
As soon as it was freed, a number of different vehicles snaked their way via the crowd and sped away with the presidential bus.
Clarin reported that the demonstrators have been angry over mining projects in Chubut province, which is part of Patagonia, and with the provincial governor.
The fires which have blazed through Patagonia for days have claimed one life, whereas 11 different persons are reported missing, officials mentioned Friday.
Dozens of people have been evacuated from the path of the advancing flames, and around 200 homes have been destroyed.
The federal government mentioned some cities have been left with out water or energy.
The fires, which authorities suspect have been began intentionally early this week, have reached a number of cities close to the foothills of the Andes mountains, and have consumed about 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of forest, media reported Saturday.
The charred body of a rural dweller, reported missing since Tuesday, was discovered close to the town of El Maiten, they added.