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4 Jan, 2022 16:55

Police officers stung by bees during protest

Seven police officers were hospitalized as beekeepers protested in front of Chile’s presidential palace
Police officers stung by bees during protest

Four beekeepers have been detained in Chile after they staged a protest in front of the presidential palace in Santiago. Seven police officers were stung during the demonstration, in which they demanded to speak to the president.

Four people were arrested on Monday for their part in a protest which saw seven police officers stung, according to local officials. The beekeepers were demonstrating about the lack of government support amid falling honey production; they claim the industry has been hard hit by droughts, which have impacted the bees’ food sources, such as flowers and crops.  

The beekeepers have asked to meet with President Sebastian Pinera to discuss their proposals, which include reforms to improve honey prices or to provide subsidies to honey producers. 

“Bees are dying,” demonstrator Jose Iturra told local media. “There would be no life if the bees die. That’s what we wanted to highlight with this demonstration.”

Around 60 beehives were placed on the avenue in front of the palace, containing an estimated 10,000 bees. The seven stung police officers, called Carabiniers, were taken to the hospital. 

Passersby noted that the situation could have been even more dangerous, with one saying that people allergic to bee stings could become victims of the demonstration.

The regional agriculture minister, Omar Guzman, said the ministry appreciates the plight of the beekeepers, but noted that they have already been providing aid for months to 20 communities experiencing severe water shortages.

Climate change is also impacting bee populations and honey production around the world. A study from 2020, published in the journal Science, found that bee populations have dropped by around 50% in North America and 17% in Europe in just one generation.