Walmart Chile pulls court requests for police protection, but warns looting continues

FILE PHOTO: The supermarket Lider of the retailer Walmart is seen in Santiago, Chile, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Walmart in Chile on Monday pulled requests it filed earlier with Chilean courts demanding police protection for its supermarkets, but said looting of its stores continued and that the situation following weeks of unrest remained “complex.”

The Chilean subsidiary of the U.S.-based retailer WMT.N in November told judges in six cities that the attacks on its stores had "gravely" affected its ability to operate in the country.

The judicial request for beefed up security - in the cities of Arica, Puerto Montt, Concepcion, Chillan, Temuco and Valdivia - followed a month of violent riots across the country that started over a hike in public transport fares and broadened to address simmering grievances over inequality.

“Given the circumstances in the country, the looting and re-looting of our company’s stores persists,” Walmart Chile said in the statement.

The local subsidiary of the world’s largest company said in the statement that 128 of its approximately 400 stores had been looted. It said 35 supermarkets had been set on fire, and 18 of those destroyed.

The company said in a statement on Monday that it did not blame the state or security forces for the damages, nor had it sought special treatment.

“On the contrary, [these requests] were aimed at asking for security in every case that the specific risk or danger made it necessary,” the company said.

Reporting Dave Sherwood and Natalia Ramos; Editing by Dan Grebler