Armed Confrontation Between Police And Mapuche In Victoria

VICTORIA – In the commune of Victoria in Araucanía region, police forces shot at Mapuche men who threw stones at them. According to police reports, four policemen were injured. Other sources claim a Mapuche man was shot in the head.

According to police reports, special police forces entered a premise in Victoria, where they were received by a group of 20 men who threw rocks. They responded by opening fire, leaving behind a young Mapuche man who was gravely injured by a bullet that hit his head.

Four policemen were injured, one of them severely. However, other sources report that the operation ended with two injured police officers, who were transferred to the Victoria Hospital.

Two Versions Of One Event

The graphic image of the Mapuche man with a bullet wound in his head was spread on social networks but could not be confirmed by government officials. The authorities assure that no injured persons have checked in at hospitals in the area.

According to CNN Chile, Jorge Huenchullán, tribal leader (werkén) of Temucuicui, two police units that invaded their territory were the first to open fire. He claimed the wounded Mapuche “was gravely injured to the head but has not received medical assistance yet.”

General Marcelo Araya from the Araucanía police force defended the use of firearms by the police, as “they were surprised by approximately 20 people who, without any provocation, began to throw stones.”

“They used their service weapons in a rational and proportional manner,” Araya said.

“We Will Be Relentless In The Fight Against Terrorism”

President Piñera visited today the Bíobío region and referred to the violent confrontation. He said that “when police officers are attacked or face a group of violent people committing crimes, it is not only their right, but their obligation to act. In the fight against rural violence and terrorism we will be relentless, within the framework of the law.”

Currently, the government has implemented the Anti-Terrorist Law in Chile which gives police forces more liberty within the legal framework to respond on acts that are considered terrorism.

Piñera also doubted the version of the Temucuicui werkén about the injured Mapuche man. “We have no certainty that there is a wounded comunero (Mapuche). There exist different versions of this story and [we are] investigating the facts.”

Boiling point: The radicalization of the Mapuche conflict

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