SANTIAGO – Chilean national police officers tear gassed several Indigenous Mapuche children during a raid in Temucuicui, Nodal reported Thursday, adding that the some of the victims fainted as a result.
The police officers, known as Carabineros, carried out the raid at the G-816 School in the autonomous Indigenous community. The Carabineros have not commented on the situation.
“This raid generated major tension in the community school, where the children remained in their classrooms,” Temucuicui community leaders said in a statement.
“The children cried and shouted out of fear of seeing so many policemen,” they added, firmly condemning the “recent violent intervention of the military police.”
The Mapuche of Chile are one of the largest Indigenous communities in South America and make up an estimated 10 percent of the country’s population. They have been involved in a continued struggle to defend their native land and traditional way of life despite many of their leaders being imprisoned.
Mapuche people are more likely to be killed by Chilean police than those who are non-Mapuche, according to Human Rights Watch.
In 2012, the organization called for Chilean authorities to carry out a “prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation” into the unlawful use of force by police against the Indigenous community. – BERNAMA-NNN-TELESUR