Buenos Aires: TV footage showed that on Saturday, dozens of protesters kicked and threw stones on a minibus carrying Argentine President Alberto Fernandez.
When he left a community center in the town of Lago Puelo in the southern Patagonia region, Fernandez had to hide behind a wall as a group of demonstrators pushed 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 vehicle, 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 people.
“I am sure that this violence was not taken part in by the people of Chubut nor by those who inhabit our beloved Argentina,” he wrote, referring to the province the surrounds the town.
With few police on hand, the crowd managed to halt the president’s bus and other vehicles in his entourage for several minutes, with some protesters throwing themselves against the hood of Fernandez’s vehicle.
Once it was freed, several other vehicles snaked their way through the crowd and sped away with the presidential bus.
Clarins reported that the demonstrators were angry with the mining project and the governor of Chubut province, part of Patagonia.
Officials said on Friday that the fire that burned in Patagonia for several days had claimed one life, and 11 people were reported missing.
Dozens of people have been evacuated from the advancing flames and about 200 houses have been destroyed.
The government says that some towns do not have water or electricity.
According to media reports on Saturday, the authorities suspected that the fire started deliberately earlier this week. The fire has spread to several towns near the foothills of the Andes, consuming approximately 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of forest.
The charred body of a rural dweller, reported missing since Tuesday, was found near the town of El Maiten, they added.