A week of continuing conflict in Ercilla resulted in a 16-year-old Mapuche boy getting shot in the leg on Friday, July 29th. The incident took place around 5 p.m. local time on the land known as La Romana–which is currently owned by René Urban. Despite being owned by Urban, the area is the traditional land of the Mapuche Community of Temucuicui who have been in an ongoing struggle to get the land back.
According to Mijael Carbone, the spokesperson for the Temucuicui community, the attack was unprovoked. Carbone also alleged that Héctor Urban, the landowner’s son, was the person responsible. This has been neither confirmed nor denied by authorities, although it is consistent with the testimony of other Mapuche individuals who indicated that the shooter was not a police officer.
In addition to the incident where the juvenile was shot, there was a separate incident (but also in Ercilla) where a police officer was hit with a rubber bullet in the eye and was taken to the hospital where he was last listed in serious condition. The person or people responsible for the incident are at this time unknown, but the shooting was reported to have taken place between police and a group of hooded individuals. That shooting occurred on land called Santa Cristina, which is currently owned by Leandro Seitz Muñoz. However, similar to La Romana, Santa Cristina is also within traditional Mapuche territory and in recent weeks the demands for that land by the Mapuche people have also strengthened.
The two incidents on Friday are, unfortunately, just the culmination of a week’s worth of clashes. For instance, on Saturday, July 23rd, a young Mapuche man was struck in the leg with buckshot while in Ercilla. According to the report, the attack was unprovoked and is being investigated.
On Wednesday, July 27th, Radio Universidad de Chile reported that raids had occurred in the area of La Romana, ultimately resulting in the serious injury of a Mapuche man by a rubber bullet, and that at least one juvenile was injured as well. In that article, Jorge Calfuqueo, the lonko (leader) of the Budi community and a member of the Territorial Alliance (a Mapuche organization) stated that the Urban family seems to control a lot of power in the area and neither the media nor the government are willing to pay attention to Mapuche demands. Calfuqueo added, “René Urban has the media, the forestry companies and the police, and that will prevail over the misery in which our people find themselves.”
Also on Wednesday, July 27th, the leaders of the Mapuche Community of Temucuicui went to the court in Collipulli and filed multiple complaints. First, they filed a claim against René Urban alleging that Urban had made death threats towards certain Mapuche individuals the previous weekend. The filing requested the start of an investigation into the incident. Second, they filed a claim against the police that alleged excessive force in the recent actions of the police.