March on anniversary of death of Mapuche activist turns violent in Chile's capital


Protesters fighting a police officer

Protesters fight a police officer during a protest in Santiago, Chile, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Activists protested the death of Matias Catrileo, a young Mapuche, who died on Jan. 3, 2008, after allegedly being shot by police during a land dispute in southern Chile (AP Photo / Luis Hidalgo).

SANTIAGO, Chile - About 500 people have marched in Chile's capital to mark the sixth anniversary of the police shooting of an activist whose death has become a rallying cry for Mapuche Indians fighting for the return of their ancestral lands.

The march ended Friday with violent confrontations between police and protesters, some of whom erected flaming barricades. Demonstrators were dispersed by water cannons.

Young Mapuche activist Matias Catrileo was shot to death on Jan. 3, 2008 during a violent eviction by an officer who served a minor sentence and later rejoined the police.

The Mapuche, which means "people of the land" in their native Mapudungun language, resisted the Spanish conquest for 300 years and their desire for autonomy remains strong.

Source: Edmonton Journal

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