By Cintia Garcia
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
Santiago, Chile—The largest indigenous community in Chile, the Mapuche, took to the streets to protest the brutal use of force by the police. The protest comes after the national prosecutors dropped the charges against police sergeant Cristian Rivera who shot a Mapuche teenager.
The protest was organized by the parents of Brandon Hernandez, the seventeen-year-old Mapuche that was shot by Cristian Rivera. Brandon Hernandez was shot during an anti-government demonstration and was left in critical condition. Sergeant Rivera was initially arrested and earlier this week it was determined that the incident was an accident. Protestors want “the government to stop the injustices, to stop the criminalization of our youth and to stop killing our kids…We want the government to admit their mistakes and correct them.” Furthermore, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Chile’s Mapuche, are more likely to be killed by police than non-Mapuche people. Both organizations have recommended the authorities to investigate the use of force against the Mapuche.
The Mapuche, who make up ten percent of the population in Chile have been involved in a long ongoing land conflict. The Mapuche have been protesting the encroachment of multinational companies overtaking their lands in the Temuco region. Temuco is an important historical and cultural center for the community. The Mapuche claim that “the capitalist invaders” do not respect their territory and autonomy.
Last week the Mapuche Arauco-Malleco Coordination (CAM), lead an arson attack against the Trans-Cavalieri transport company. The CAM burned nineteen trucks, nine flatbeds, and a warehouse on the route to Temuco. The attack led to a three-million-dollar loss. The CAM stated that, “With this larger action, we pointed out to our oppressed people that there is the will and capacity of the Mapuche to deal decisively with the expressions of the capitalist system and the oppressive colonialist state.”
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