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Mapuches and other indigenous groups fight police on Columbus Day

Tuesday, October 14th 2014 - 06:38 UTC
Full article 3 comments
The march was to commemorate Columbus's arrival in the Americas 12 October  1492, an event indigenous peoples argue should not be celebrated as a holiday.(Pic EFE) The march was to commemorate Columbus's arrival in the Americas 12 October 1492, an event indigenous peoples argue should not be celebrated as a holiday.(Pic EFE)
Hundreds of indigenous people have been jailed in the past decade for occupying or setting fire to buildings, and about a dozen have been killed by police ( Piic EFE) Hundreds of indigenous people have been jailed in the past decade for occupying or setting fire to buildings, and about a dozen have been killed by police ( Piic EFE)

Chilean police fired tear gas and water cannon on Sunday to break up thousands of indigenous protesters demanding land rights and condemning Columbus Day, after masked demonstrators began throwing stones.

The march in Santiago began festively, with demonstrators decked out in colourful clothing and playing traditional indigenous music from around the country. But some protesters turned violent, throwing stones at police, who responded by firing water cannon and tear gas.

That broke up the demonstrators, who police said numbered about 6,000.

The march in the capital came as Chile commemorated the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492; an event many in the country's indigenous communities argue should not be celebrated with a holiday.

The protest also drew together activists for a number of indigenous causes, including the fight by the Mapuche, Chile's largest indigenous group, for property rights over their ancestral lands in the south.

”We're sending a clear message to President (Michelle) Bachelet... We're not going to stop fighting to get back our land,” said Freddy Melinao from the Mapuche village of Kuyen Mapu.

Rights groups in Chile have accused the police of using excessive force against indigenous activists.

Hundreds of indigenous people have been jailed in the past decade for occupying or setting fire to buildings, and about a dozen have been killed in police operations, according to rights groups.

Chile applies to indigenous uprisings and protests a very strict anti-terrorist legislation, with some lenient modifications, which was drafted during the time of dictator Augusto Pinochet and has been strongly criticized by human rights groups, UN and Amnesty International, among others.
 

Categories: Politics, Chile.

Top Comments

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  • golfcronie

    I expect the indiginous welsh in Chabut will be demonstrating when their 150 years celebrations are due.

    Oct 14th, 2014 - 07:54 am 0
  • Anbar

    well... we've been told already on these forums that the descendants of the original conquesting Spanish are now irrevocably tied into the bloodlinesof the natives so that there are no “squatters” from Europe, simply Argentinians.

    Therefore there is no conflict between the indigenous and the 'European Argentines'..clearly Chile hasn't been as efficient in their final solution as have the Argentines...

    and there are still indigenes wondering why these european squatters dont give them the right to self-determination...

    odd that...

    Oct 14th, 2014 - 03:08 pm 0
  • paulcedron

    pelotdous 1 & 2

    this article is about chile, you tw@ts, not about argentina.
    and it´s chubut not chabut.

    of course we have been a lot more successful than the chilotes regarding to the integration of the indigenous here.

    funny that these english wannabes talk about final solutions...
    ask the american indians, tasmanians

    Oct 14th, 2014 - 05:19 pm 0
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