Violent Police Repression against Mapuche Communites
November 8, 2002
A member of the 'Montutui Mapu' Community seriously
A young Mapuche youth shot in the head is in a critical condition
Following the detention of Victor Ancalaf, on trial for allegedly breaking anti-terrorist laws, a rapidly growing and unexpectedly intense climate of unrest is spreading throughout various areas of Mapuche territory. This situation has grown out of frustration at the flagrant abuses by the Courts of Justice and the continuing struggle to regain land belonging to the indigenous Mapuche.
Furthermore, last Thursday evening, a young Mapuche youth, a member of the Montutui Mapu Community from Ercilla County was shot in the head during a violent police eviction near the town of Angol. He along with fellow members of his community and the Arauko Malleko Organisation had from the beginning of the week reoccupied native people's lands near the town of Angol, as part of a peaceful protest.
The 17-year-old Mapuche youth, identified as Edmundo Alex Lemun Saavedra, remains in a critical condition in the Alemania clinic in Temuco after receiving a bullet wound to the head. Edmundo received his horrific injuries whilst taking part in the occupation of the Santa Elisa Estate belonging to the Mininco Forestry Company in the Ercilla County. The District Attorney has started an investigation into the cause of the shooting, which was, according to eyewitness accounts carried out by Officers of the Special Police.
Our initial enquiries have established that sometime after 7pm last Thursday a detachment of the Special Forces from Malleco arrived at the Santa Elisa Estate in order to evict the Mapuche Community. This resulted in a violent confrontation, which climaxed with the shooting in the head of the Mapuche youth, an action that was denounced by the members of the Montutui Mapu Community. The police offered no medical aid, nor did the police notify the local authority about people who had been injured or detained.
Yesterday, Ramiro Pizarro, Governor of the Ninth Region and representatives from other governmental authorities visited the Regional Hospital of Temuco, where the Mapuche youth had received emergency treatment. The delegation was seeking further information on the details of the case, as were representatives of Mapuche organisations from Temuco and surrounding areas.
In a public statement, members of the Montutui Mapu community expressed their total condemnation of the police action, accusing the Chilean Government of sole responsibility for this outrage.
"This act once more serves to expose the true interests of the Chilean State currently administered by Ricardo Lagos, which through its repressive bodies does not hesitate to use direct and brutal repression against the Mapuche Nation. The Government's aim to carry on protecting and safeguarding the capitalist investments of national and multinational entrepreneurs".
"We repeat that our communities are weary of confronting arrogance, force and violence with which the dominant system behaves. It seeks to consolidate its economic power, at the price of the poverty, humiliation and shedding of blood of the brave Mapuche fighters - as resulted from the "splendid" action of the police and the Investigation Police of Chile".
According to the first medical examination conducted by the head doctor at the Regional Hospital of Temuco, Osvaldo Fernandez, the injured youth arrived at the medical centre with a bullet lodged in the cerebral area. The injury had caused such serious internal damage to brain tissue that the youth had to be operated on during the night. Owing to the serious nature of his injuries at approximately 1.00am in the morning he was moved to the Alemania Clinic of Temuco, where he remains in a critical condition.
A second medical statement concerning the state of health of the Mapuche youth was issued at the end of today by the German clinic of Temuco and runs as follows.
The patient was admitted to the Alemania Clinic of Temuco at approximately 1.40 am today having been transferred from the Regional Hospital of Temuco. He was operated on for A BULLET WOUND TO THE HEAD and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit on advanced life support, being treated for serious brain injury. He remains in a critical condition.
Doctor Oscar Morales Spichiger, Medical Director of the Alemania Clinic, has issued a preliminary report but cannot say when a more detailed report will be issued. The media have not been given any more information on the condition of the Mapuche youth.
By Paula Huenchulaf
Kolectivo Mapuche Lientur
Sitio web: http://www.nodo50.org/kolectivolientur
K O N T R A I N F O R M A C I O N