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Photo: The Mapuche activist with his wife moments before arrest / Courtesy of Filipe Duran
Chilean local government in Cañete, city in southern part of the country, responded with police force to the demonstrations of indigenous people demanding to release political prisoners. On Friday twenty arrested protesters were still in jail, the authorities confirmed.
More than 500 demonstrators arrived on foot and on horseback with the symbolic banners and flags. Mapuche representatives arrived at the Office of the Public Prosecutor, where a brief meeting was held.
“We arrived at the police station to denounce the way Carabineros implemented these laws against our people”, the leader Patricia Troncoso said. “We were attacked with tear gas while we were walking”, he explained.
Riot police units shot tear gas at the demonstrators in the city center. Police arrested about twenty Mapuche activists.
The Mapuche people who were deprived of their land and autonomy protested against draconian laws imposed on them by the current government. The Mapuche people claim that the Chilean authorities policies toward them do not comply with the United Nations standard for the minorities. Since 1990’s the Chilean government is imposing its own narrative of the conflict portraying the Mapuche people as “rebels” who are breaking the law.
Officials explained brutal response to the Mapuche protest with a claim that it was not authorized.
The governor of Arauco province, Humberto Toro, said that the march was not authorized and repudiated the events occurred, calling them a “vandalic” act.
On Friday it was not clear whether any human rights organization offered help to unjustly arrested human rights advocates.