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News > Chile

Chile: Police Repress March in Defense of Mapuche's Rights

  • A Mapuche man is detained during a protest in Santiago, Chile, Dec. 27, 2018.

    A Mapuche man is detained during a protest in Santiago, Chile, Dec. 27, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 December 2018

The murder of a young Mapuche by the police is generating a political crisis for President Sebastian Piñera.

Hundreds of people gathered Thursday in Santiago, Chile, to protest the death of Camilo Catrillanca, a young Mapuche who was shot on Nov. 14 while traveling on a tractor in the community of Temucuicui.

Chile: Mapuches to Begin Two-Day Mobilization

The march, carried out as result of the Mapuche people's call to a 48-hour-protest across Chile, started peacefully eight blocks away from 'La Moneda', the government palace. Demonstrations of solidarity with the Indigenous peoples, however, ended in serious clashes with the police.

In the Plaza de Armas, people from Chile's capital city, who were carrying Mapuche banners and flags, began shouting in favor of the Indigenous people and against President Sebastian Piñera Administration.

"Chilean police killed Camilo Catrillanca, a 24-year-old Mapuche. This is in Santiago de Chile's protests for constant killings against indigenous brothers. Resist Wallmapu!"

Then demonstrators began to march along the Ahumada street toward La Moneda. Minutes later, however, the Chilean militarized police, 'Carabineros', arrived and there were strong confrontations that ended with at least ten detainees.

In the community of Ercilla, located in the Araucania region, there were also serious incidents. The protesters took the highway, displayed banners related to the young Mapuche's killing, and called for the demilitarization of Mapuche's territories.

Another group of Indigenous people occupied the municipality's building and demanded the departure of the 'Jungle Command,' which is made up of men from the Carabinero's Special Operations Group.

"The Jesuit priest Luis Garcia-Huidobro denounced that, in Angol's court, Chilean Carabinero Raul Castro Antipan, acknowledged that he carried out incendiary attacks and other [terrorists] acts... with the purpose to blame the Mapuche for imprisoning them."

In Santiago, the Mapuche community delivered a letter addressed to President Piñera, requesting the resignation of Andres Chadwick, the minister of interior, who is seen as the maximum political responsible for Catrillanca's murder.

In the letter, Mapuches also demanded an end of Chilean state's repressive policy against the Indigenous people, a situation that has been dramatically revealed with the last killing in Temucuicui.

According to official information, at least three ex-Carabineros and a lawyer will be tried for obstructing the investigation into the young Mapuche's homicide.

In recent years, the conflict between the Chilean state and the Mapuche people have generated several waves of violence. 

The current state of relations between both parties can be summarized by recalling that, when a Chilean magazine asked President Piñera what was the most difficult moment of his nine months in office, he replied that "unfortunately, the death of Camilo Catrillanca," according to Sputnik.

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