Oct 26, 2009

Mapuche: Protest Against Police Violence

Active ImageMembers of Mapuche marched in Temuco on October 23rd to protest against police repression in an increasingly bitter fight over ancestral lands. At least one Mapuche has been left dead and a number injured as a result of confrontations between protesters and police.



Below is an article published by New Tang Dynasty Television:

Chile's Mapuche Indians marched in Temuco on Friday, October 23rd, to protest what they see as police repression in an increasingly bitter fight over ancestral lands.

Confrontations between indigenous protesters and police have left at least one Mapuche dead and a number of protesters and police injured.

The Mapuche community has accused the police of using increasingly violent tactics, especially against minors.

On Friday, Mapuche children carried tear gas cartridges to the Temuco city hall.

This boy, Fernando Painefil, says children are paying a price from the scuffles.

[Fernando Painefil, Mapuche Boy]:
“They are now injured because of the police and now we want them to stop doing that, going after schools, because the Mapuche children suffer a lot.”

The Mapuche, which means "Earth People" in the Mapudungun tongue, have clashed with police in recent weeks to demand territories they say were stolen from them over the past 500 years.

Mapuche Chief Jorge Cafuqueo had a challenge for the government's Secretary General Jose Antonio Viera Gallo as negotiations continue.

[Mijael Carbone, Mapuche Leader]:
“What we know is that we are resisting and that is why we want to make it clear to the state of Chile, that we as the people of the Mapuche Nation are rebuilding. We are organizing ourselves to fight, brothers, because it is the only we can recover our territory today.”

The Chilean government has denied that police fired weapons against Mapuche children.

[Jose Antonio Viera Gallo, Chilean Minister secretary-General]:
“People who are breaking the law, defying the rule of law, placing themselves above the rights of others, endangering the lives of others, and standing against the property of others are not people the government is going to benefit by giving them land.”

The Mapuche say the government is protecting corporate interests and repressing their demands with hard-handed tactics like the ones used by Pinochet's police 20 years ago.