Residents of the Argentine town of El Bolson Sunday confronted reasoning Mapuches on horseback and kept them from doing any further damage as authorities failed to provide an institutional response to the increasing unrest caused by the rebel groups in the area.
Shouting Long live the homeland! (¡Viva la Patria!) the 20-strong group charged against the hooded rioters who were blocking streets and committing acts of vandalism against local stores, it was reported.
The citizen's reaction came after one fatality due to a gunshot amid rioting in the Cuesta del Ternero area.
The vigilante group was taking part in a traditionalist celebration at a nearby property and upon noticing events downtown were getting out of hand they decided to take action, according to reports.
Before that, the attackers had destroyed a business owned by Mayor Bruno Pogliano's wife, broken street signs and caused multiple fire outbreaks in El Bolsón's commercial district.
We were not going to allow them to damage everything, commercial premises and public spaces that we who live here and tourists enjoy, that's why we intervened, argued the responding residents.
On the other hand, the blockade on Route 40 by the Winkul Lafken Mapu group in Villa Mascardi lasted until 2 am, at which point the rebels decided to free the passage of vehicles.
There were delays of more than five hours, kilometres and kilometers of cars waiting to be able to circulate through the place, tourists stranded in the area complained as they pointed out “the absence of members of the National Gendarmerie who did not intervene to guarantee the circulation of the vehicles; it was a harrowing experience, they said
At least four drivers were attacked by the hooded rebels mounting the roadblock, it was reported.
The Mapuches denounced on social media that “two armed civilians entered the recovered territory, rebuked the Peñi and murdered one of them with an accurate shot to the head; the other colleague was injured and was taken to the hospital, where he was operated on,” they posted. We make a call to all the Mapuche Lofs, people aware of our struggle to demonstrate in repudiation of this new Mapuche bloodshed in defence of the Territory,” they insisted.
The Government of the Argentine province of Río Negro has denied allegations by the Mapuche groups that provincial police was involved in the events.