Santiago: Thousands of people gathered yesterday in the Plaza Italia to march through the Alameda in support of the Mapuche resistance. The march ended in a violent police repression.
- The demonstration was called by leaders of groups in conflict zones such as Maule, Arauco and Osorno. The main demands of the marchers were the end to the militarization of their territory, to stop the criminalization of the Mapuche movement and freedom of Mapuche political prisoners.
The march also coincided with the anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Chile – a day that indigenous communities do not think should be celebrated as a holiday.
Today They March, For Their Land, For Their Freedom of Their Indigenous #Mapuche People in #Chile on #ColumbusDay
Tensions have been mounting in Chile amid recent repressions and detentions of Mapuche activists. Mapuche José Mauricio Quintriqueo Huaiquimil was killed on October 1st after being run over by a farm worker on a tractor during a peaceful occupation of their ancestral land. Mapuche responded by setting up improvised roadblocks which prompted a militarized mobilization of local police working with special forces. Continue reading
A decades-old is heating up as Chilean cities spend their winter under a blanket of protests. Forty teenagers staged a toma, or takeover, in Ercilla.
Photo By: Leyla Noriega Zegarra
A decades-old debate over a 150-year-old conflict is heating up as Chilean cities spend their winter under a blanket of protests. Forty teenagers, part of 700,000 Mapuche Indians out of 17 million people in Chile, staged a toma, or takeover, in Ercilla. The small forest-farming town, 600 kilometers south of Santiago, frequently hosts brawls between the police force and Mapuche.
Since August 19, the 11-to-17-year-olds occupied the town’s government center. They’re not giving it back, they said, until Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter hears out their grievances over the “constant police presence” and a lack of intercultural education.
The clock is ticking according to Camilo Catrilanca, the 16-year-old spokesperson of the toma. “We’re not going anywhere. We haven’t had an answer,” said Catrilanca.
Mayor of Ercilla José Vilugrón said the government won’t resort to violence to break up the students’ toma. He sent a proposal over to La Moneda, Chile’s presidential palace, with recommendations on how resolve the issues. But the local governor, Miguel Mellado, said if they don’t go willingly, he will forcibly remove the students from the building. Continue reading