Police Arrest Protesters Rallying for Release of Mapuche Leader in Santiago

StoryfulPublished: January 13, 2017Updated: January 14, 2017
Published: January 13, 2017Updated: January 14, 2017

Police used <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ximenariffo/videos/10154907458289901/" target="_blank">water cannon</a> and arrested protesters in Santiago, Chile, on December 26, who were calling for the release of a Mapuche spiritual leader, Machi Francisca Linconao, and demanding information about her health.

Linconao was detained in March, along with 10 others, on charges on arson relating to a fire in January, 2013, that led to the deaths of two major landlords, <a href="http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Mapuche-Activists-Demand-Chile-Give-Info-on-Linconaos-Health-20161226-0020.html" target="_blank">TeleSur reported</a>. Her supporters say the evidence against her is suspect, and that her arrest is part of a government campaign to oppress the Mapuche people and deny them territorial rights.

Linconao began a hunger strike on December 23, according to <a href="http://radio.uchile.cl/2016/12/23/machi-francisca-linconao-anuncia-huelga-de-hambre/" target="_blank">Chilean reports</a>, and her health was believed to be in decline.

Marchers in Santiago said police were heavy-handed and repressive in their response to the protesters, attempting to block the route of their march, as this video shows.

The protesters tried to enter the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality to demand information about Linconao, but were pushed back by police. Several people were arrested, according to both <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ximenariffo/videos/10154907458289901/" target="_blank">protesters</a> and <a href="http://www.latercera.com/noticia/santiago-manifestantes-piden-liberacion-machi-linconao/" target="_blank">Chilean media</a>. The video here shows people being taken away in a police vehicle, while others argue with police against the arrests.

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