Mapuche: Clash with Police Result in Casualty
During a protest symbolizing an act of land recovery, a Mapuche activist has been shot by the police exacerbating tensions with the community as Mapuche political prisoner continues his hunger strike.
Below is an article published by The
Ongoing animosity between Chilean authorities and Mapuche groups took a bloody turn Thursday morning [03 January 2008] when Carabineros police reportedly shot and killed a university student in Region IX.
At approximately 6 a.m. some 30 members of the Yupeco-Vilcun community attempted to occupy a farm located some 20 miles south-west of
According to journalist Elias Paillan of the Observatory for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (ODPI), the group – which entered the Santa Margartia farm to perform a “symbolic act of land recovery” – fled the scene carrying the deceased student’s body.
“The Mapuche group took the body and they protected it. They didn’t want to hand it over to the Carabineros because they didn’t feel there were any guarantees,” Paillan told the Santiago Times.
Despite demands by the government that they hand over the body, the protestors initially refused, calling instead for Church involvement. Eventually, Villarica Bishop Sixto Parzinger agreed to meet with the Mapuche group. After several hours of tense negotiations, the protestors finally gave up Catrileo’s body.
The human rights group Amnesty International (AI) demanded a full investigation into the incident.
“Throughout the course of the day we’ll be analyzing the circumstances,” said Ana Carolina Cofre, a coordinator with AI’s Indigenous People’s Human Rights Team. “We’ve already sent the information off to
This is certainly not the first time AI has turned its attention to the plight of
“This is sad situation, but one that’s not really surprising given how the Mapuche social movement has been criminalized in recent years,” ODPI head José Aylwin told the Santiago Times. “One manifestation of that has been the legal persecution of Mapuche leaders involved in protests to recover their lands. The result has been the jailing of those leaders under (Augusto Pinochet-era) anti-terrorism laws, which have been questioned by human rights organizations.”
Coincidentally, both AI and ODPI first learned of the police killing during a joint press conference given Thursday morning [03 January 2008] in
Four of the original five hunger strikers have had to give up their prolonged hunger strike. Héctor Llaitul ended his strike just this past Monday [31 December 2007]. During his 81-day fast Llaitul lost approximately 50 pounds. Patricia Troncoso, also known as “la Chepa,” is now the only remaining striker. Together the strikers are demanding the liberation of all Mapuche political prisoners.
“There’s a permanent police presence in some indigenous communities. There are daily raids and the indiscriminate use of fire arms to repress what yes, in some cases, can be violent protests. But in no way is that violence proportional with what the state employs,” said Aylwin