Circumstances surrounding killed militant remain murky

Carabineros that killed a Chilean student incorporated in a Mapuche militant group didn’t comply with protocol. Pablo Marchant was shot in the head at close range, but the officers didn’t wear bodycams. They claimed self-defense as Marchant was allegedly threatening them with an assault rifle.

Circumstances surrounding the death of a Chilean student near the southern city of Temuco remain murky.

Pablo Marchant was shot last week in a confrontation with Carabineros police. But the officers implicated did not wear bodycams as per protocol while Marchant was killed at close range, according to investigative collective Ciper.

Last Friday, Carabineros arrived at a site owned by forest company Mininco, where Mapuche, including Marchant, allegedly sabotaged equipment and set fire to three vehicles. A Mininco worker was injured during the ensuing shootout.

Two more Carabineros arrived to escort the other workers from the premises. The officers were then involved in Marchant’s killing. They claimed Marchant jumped out of some bushes, face covered and pointing an M16 assault rifle at them. In self-defense, one officer shot Marchant in the head. 

The officers called for backup and thought they killed Ernesto Llaitul, son of resistance leader Héctor Llaitul. The rumor immediately spread throughout the media ecosystem. Héctor Llaitul, however, identified the victim as Marchant the next day.

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The Constitutional Convention’s president, Elisa Loncón, told Radio UChile that “if we are going to be repressed by the police and keep this logic going, we don’t have the guarantees needed to have a discussion or debate.”

Senate president Yasna Provoste tweeted “an absent government that insists on militarization can’t claim social peace or respect for human rights, essential requirements to move forward.”

Republican party leader José Antonio Kast demanded President Sebastián Piñera declare martial law in La Araucanía region, which will enable “the police and military deployment needed to protect the lives of Chileans living in the area.”

National Renewal lawmaker Miguel Mellado advocated “protecting Carabineros … and let’s not have a shaky hand when it comes to terrorists, so that this scourge in La Araucanía can end once and for all.”

A memorial service for Marchant took place on July 12 in Carahue, with his coffin flanked by armed guards, according to media reports.

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