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Chilean Security Forces Clash with Mapuche Community

Santiago de Chile, September 9 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Mapuche Indigenous leaders criticized the Chilean government’s handling of an incident that took place on Monday in which Chilean military troops stormed the offices of the National Corporation of Indigenous Development (Conadi).

“The security forces, without warning, began immediately firing tear gas inside the building, even though they knew there were women and children inside,” Mapuche leader Victor Queipul told Chilean media outlets on Tuesday.         

The raid, which put an end to a 21-day occupation of the government building, forcefully removed 40 Indigenous leaders from the site after failing to reach an agreement with government officials regarding their demands.

The Mapuche people have staged several protests in recent weeks rejecting the violence against them, and demanding the re-appropriation of what they consider to be their ancestral lands.       
The Mapuche are Chile's largest Indigenous minority, making up around nine percent of the national population and 31 percent in the Araucania.

However, a report by the labor federation, Multigremial de la Araucania, revealed that violent incidents in the region had increased by 43 percent to 152 incidents between January and June 2015 compared to a year earlier.   

Earlier this month, the Mapuche representatives issued a list of demands to the Chilean government requesting autonomy and self-governance in Mapuche territory.

The Chilean government has long been criticized for its inability to manage disputes over ancestral Indigenous lands, according to local news sources. 
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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