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CHILE
Indigenous activists arrested
12/26/2002
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After three weeks of protests marked by violent police crackdowns, which left one person dead, 15 Mapuche activists linked to the Arauco-Malleco Coordinating Group were being held on charges related to 1999 arson attacks on the Bosques Arauco logging company near Temuco, in southern Chile (LP, May 24 and Sept. 27, 1999). The detainees — included coordinating group leader José Huenchunao, spokesman José Llanquileo and grassroots leader Angélica Ñancupil — could be charged under anti-terrorism legislation.

Chile’s Mapuche people are demanding the return of land for which titles were granted during the colonial period. The dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet (1973-90) eliminated communal land rights in 1981 and emphasized private property, benefiting logging companies. A series of arrests and searches of homes and offices led Mapuche leaders to file a complaint against the government with the UN Human Rights Commission last year (LP, Oct. 22, 2001).

 


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