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Mapuche leaders in Chile call for month of protests on Nov. 25; violent incidents likely

Reports indicate that on November 25 Mapuche groups in Chile have called for a month of protests following the death of Camilo Catrillanca on November 14. An indigenous activist, Catrillanca was killed during a security operation in a Mapuche settlement near the city of Ercilla. The groups are reportedly demanding security forces to withdraw from the La Araucanía region and the resignation of Ministry of Interior Andrés Chadwick and Head of Carabineros (police) Hermes Soto. Subsequently, on November 29 pro-Mapuche demonstrators in Santiago clashed with police. Moreover, on December 1 four freight trucks were reportedly set on fire by Mapuche activists along a route near Collipulli, in the Araucania region. Similar violent incidents have been witnessed in the past two weeks.

Southern Chile is experiencing a heightened risk of street violence, indigenous militancy, and vandalism following Catrillanca’s death. Mapuche and left-leaning groups accuse security forces of having deliberately killed the activist, further accusing the government of militarizing Mapuche lands. Although on November 30 judicial authorities have ordered the detention of four security agents purportedly involved in Catrillanca’s death, advocates of indigenous groups accuse President Sebastían Piñera of not doing enough to protect the rights of Mapuche communities. While violent incidents in Southern Chile stemming from violent activism is commonplace, especially against industrial infrastructure and private interests, grievances over the death of Cantrillanca will most likely continue to trigger an uptick of violence.

Those operating or residing in Chile over the coming days and weeks are advised to exercise heightened vigilance, especially in southern locales which remain prone to witness violent incidents stemming from Mapuche activism.

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