Chile: Netizens Denounce Police Violence in Mapuche Community

This post is part of our special coverage Indigenous Rights.

With the title “Mapuche Territory Militarization – Low-Intensity War” [es], Felipe Durán – UPI Agency photographer and member of the Union of the Association of Independent Reporters ARI – published a series of images denouncing police violence in the Mapuche community WenteWinKulMapu Lof Chequenco, in Ercilla.

Felipe called out on Facebook [es]:

Esto es Todos los días… Estos últimos 3 días fueron los más fuertes… las imágenes son solo de 1 día en la Comunidad donde llego Carabineros con vehículos Blindados rompiendo cerco de las casas, trancas y lo que se les interponga, disparando a las casas niños mujeres… sin justificación alguna… sólo con el afán de amedrentar a las personas… en las imágenes se puede apreciar como entran a los terrenos de las casas disparando a mansalva… Solicitamos ayudar a difundir y estar atentos ante más información que seguiremos liberando. Las imágenes son libres como nosotros, compartalas, informe a su entorno, solidarice difundiendo y estando informando.

This happens every day…These last 3 days have been the worst…the images are just showing one day in the Community where the police arrived with armored vehicles breaking fences, and anything that got in their way, shooting at homes [with] children and women…without any justification…in an effort to frighten people… In the images you can see how they enter the houses’ fields, firing at close range…We ask for help in spreading this information and to be alert for more information that we will keep sharing. The images are free like us, share them, inform those who are around you, help us by spreading this and by staying informed.

The blog werkenkvrvf [es] re-published some of the images, and wrote [es]:

Los helicópteros policiales vuelan día y noche por sobre las tierras de estas comunidades. Los mapuches sufren controles de identidad abusivos, vejatorios. Sus luchas son criminalizadas y judicializadas por el gobierno y el poder Judicial, y son deformadas y condenadas por la prensa (salvo contadas y honrosas excepciones) y por los partidos políticos con representación parlamentaria.

Police helicopters fly day and night over the territories of these communities. The Mapuche suffer abusive and degrading identity controls. Their struggle is criminalized and judged by the government and the Judicial power, and it is distorted and condemned by the press (except for a few honorable exceptions) and by the political parties with parliamentary representation.

The Mapuche Student Federation [es] (FedFEMAE) tweeted [es]:


This is the repression of the Chilean State toward the Mapuche…

These acts of violence are taking place after the revival of the recovery of ancestral territories of the Wente Winkul Mapu community [es]. These territories in the Pidima, Ercilla area in the Araucanía region today are called ‘fundo Centenario‘. This estate is owned by Juan de Dios Fuentes and forestry companies. Likewise, in 2010, 5 Mapuche were convicted of non-violent usurpation [es] of the territory.

These events are usually framed within the so-called “Mapuche conflict“, a social phenomenon that gained strength in Chile with the return of democracy, and that consists of the recognition of the collective rights of the Mapuche, which includes, among other demands, the recovery of indigenous territories lost since the nineteenth century.

Mapuche media azkintuwe [es] and mapuexpress [es] also shared the photos. Here are some of the images, posted with Felipe Durán's permission:

Police deployment in the Wente WinKul Mapu Lof Chequenco community in Ercilla.

Police deployment in the Wente WinKul Mapu Lof Chequenco community in Ercilla.

Police used tear gas in Mapuche community

Police used tear gas in Mapuche community

Police vehicle

Police vehicle

Police in the WenteWinKulMapu Lof Chequenco community, Ercilla.

Police in the WenteWinKulMapu Lof Chequenco community, Ercilla.

This post is part of our special coverage Indigenous Rights.

Leyla Noriega, editor at La Opiñón, wrote this post which was originally published on November 8, 2011 [es].


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