AMERICA/CHILE - Mapuche issue: clashes and arrests outside the Cathedral of Concepcion

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 indigenous   poverty   politics  


Concepcion (Agenzia Fides) - At least 30 people were arrested after a demonstration outside the Cathedral of Concepcion in southern Chile. During the demonstrations, several citizens who support 4 Mapuche activists who have been on hunger strike for 111 days were imprisoned. The demonstrators wanted to break into the church to bring the demonstration inside the temple, which has been occupied by a small group of family members of Mapuche Political Prisoners (PPM), since Thursday 21 September (see Fides 22/09/2017).
The actions of solidarity with the brothers Benito, Pablo, and Ariel Trangol, and Alfredo Tralcal, in a delicate state of health, included the raising of a camp adorned by several canvases in the doorway of the Cathedral of Conception. The four Mapuche (3 are brothers) are accused of being the author of the burning in 2016 of an evangelical temple in southern Chile and will be prosecuted according to the anti-terrorism law. The situation has degenerated because after about 110 days of hunger strike, only on Wednesday, September 20, they were taken to hospital while one of the officials of Araucania commented to the local press that it would be a "bad signal" to withdraw the allegations of acts of terrorism.
The note sent to Fides informs that the Archbishop of Concepcion, Fernando Chomalí, did not ask for the eviction of the people who were inside the cathedral and neither of those who protested outside, even though they prevented the parishioners from from passing. However, the Carabineros (militarized police) used tear gas and threw water at the demonstration site and arrested about 30 people.
Meanwhile, Mgr. Héctor Vargas, Bishop of Temuco, yesterday met the family members of the demonstrators expressing his willingness to bring the proposals to President Bachelet. Mgr. Vargas had positively commented on the speech by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet when she had symbolically handed over the expected "Araucanía Plan" to the entire Chilean people, which aims to put an end to the historical conflict between the State and the Mapuche people (see Fides 26/06/2017). (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 27/09/2017)