Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Chilean president declares state of emergency over Mapuche conflict - FRANCE24

 Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Tuesday announced a state of emergency and deployed troops to two southern regions where clashes have broken out between Mapuche indigenous people and security forces.



The Mapuche are demanding the restoration of their ancestral lands and self-determination.

"We have decided to call a state of exception" in four provinces of the southern regions of Biobio and Araucania and the deployment of troops to help control "the serious disturbance of public order" there, Pinera said in a speech.

The billionaire right-wing president addressed the nation on a controversial national holiday that marks the "discovery" of the Americas by Christopher Columbus.

It is a day in history that is viewed as a disaster by many indigenous peoples throughout the Americas due to the colonisation that followed.

Pinera, 71, said that the four provinces in question have seen "repeated acts of violence linked to drug-trafficking, terrorism and organised crime committed by armed groups," and that innocent civilians and police officers have been killed in the violence.

The state of exception is initially due to last two weeks in the provinces of Biobio and Arauco in the Biobio region, and in Malleco and Cautin in La Araucania.

The Mapuche are Chile's largest indigenous group numbering 1.7 million out of the country's 19 million population and live mostly in the south.

Their leaders are demanding that land currently owned by farms and logging companies be restored to them.

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L'état d'exception a été décrété et l'armée déployée par le président chilien Sebastian Piñera dans deux région méridionales du pays, en proie à de vives tensions avec des Amérindiens mapuche. Cette annonce a été faite le jour même où l'Amérique latine, sur fond de polémiques avec les peuples autochtones, commémore l'arrivée du navigateur espagnol Christophe Colomb en 1492.

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