Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet has announced that the country will be the first in Latin America to declare a state of emergency over the rise of the radical Islamist group ISIS.
Bachelet said on Tuesday that the new threat to Chile’s security came from the group ISIS which has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks in the country.
The terrorist group, which has carried out numerous attacks in Chile and neighboring Peru, is not a recognised terrorist organisation by the US and has no formal ties to the armed forces.
But the announcement has been condemned by the opposition, who say the country needs a strong response.
Chileans have been on high alert for months, with thousands of security forces deployed around the country in the wake of a spate of terror attacks in March and April, the latest of which left nine people dead.
In an effort to combat the rise in violence, Bachele announced in July that Chile would introduce a new law that would allow authorities to deploy extra security forces to areas that are not currently under state control.
Bacchus government has already ordered the army to deploy additional security forces in the south of the country, but the new law would allow the military to intervene in a variety of situations.
The law also allows for the suspension of rights for people who have committed a crime and could lead to deportation.
The government has been under pressure from the opposition to rein in the violence, as it is concerned that more people will return to the streets after a week of protests.
Chiles Interior Minister Carlos Muñoz said on Wednesday that the rise had increased the risks to Chileans, but also highlighted the importance of maintaining calm.
The Chilean constitution guarantees the right to protest, but Muños announcement was met with condemnation by human rights groups and rights activists.
President Bachelets move is in line with international law, Muñoes deputy, Roberto Azevedo, told Reuters news agency.
He said the measure would protect the rights of Chileans.
President Muñoses administration has faced widespread criticism from human rights activists for failing to act against the group.
The new law allows the military and the police to be deployed in places where there is no state-controlled security, including parts of the capital, Santiago, and the tourist city of Santiago de Chile.
Chilias government has said the measures are necessary to prevent further attacks and that it has the legal authority to impose them.