august 25 2008
Mapuche Leader Denies Clash with Police.

Santiago, Chile, Aug 25 (Prensa Latina) Indigenous leader Jorge Huenchullan denied any responsibility of Mapuche indigenous people in a confrontation with customs officers (Carabineers) in the south of the country this weekend that caused several injured people.

In statements to Radio Cooperativa, the leader of the community of Temucuicui insisted that those that caused pellet wounds to two Carabineers during a frustrated attempt of arresting indigenous leader Marcelo Catrillanca, were not Mapuches.

"The rumour that Mapuches have shot Carabineers, that is a lie. The Carabineers officials are just trying to justify their violence, to justify their lack of control", Huenchullan said.

I don't know if they have been attacked to themselves, but shootings from people of my community, of our people, it is not this way. In what way a person can shoot anyone else. when they have been reduced?," he asked.

He outlined that their community has been permanently repressed, stigmatized and accused of any crime in this area. Our people have always suffered that type of accusations on behalf of private enterprises and forest companies, he said.

According to police sources, two Carabineers and four settlers of Temucuicui were injured.

The prefect of the town of Malleco, Colonel Mauricio Toro, said that Carabineers were attacked by Mapuches when they were trying to arrest Catrillanca and they responded with shotguns of pellets.

After pointing out that the skirmishes lasted several hours in the proximities, one of the policemen has a pellet in his neck and the other one was already taken home with lighter injures. No one was arrested.

Interior Ministry spokesman Francisco Vidal, valued the police action and insisted in that there would not be a single square meter in which the law is violated.

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