On Sunday, October 2nd, there were multiple reports of two separate incidents between police and large groups of individuals in Ercilla on traditional Mapuche land. The first incident involved approximately 40-50 people who began cutting down trees and knocking down fences. Ultimately, three officers were injured during this confrontation. The second incident involved approximately 20 masked men on a different piece of property in which one police officer was injured.
It is important to note that while some reports indicate that both groups were of Mapuche individuals, others make no mention of that fact, but given the recent history in the area and the land in question, it is reasonable to believe that Mapuche groups who claim the land as their traditional territory were behind the incidents, but at the time of this writing, no one has taken responsibility for the incidents and there have been no reports about whether anyone other than police officers were injured in either incident.
The first confrontation occurred during the early morning hours of October 2nd, where there was reportedly a clash between approximately 50 individuals and the police. This initial confrontation took place on a farm known as “Centenario” owned by Juan de Dios Fuentes. Fuentes said that the individuals came onto his land with chainsaws and began cutting trees down when the police — stationed on his property to guard his land — confronted the group. A separate report alleged that this group of Mapuche also fired pellets at the police officers. The confrontation ended with three police officers being wounded and being taken to the hospital. Those officers are stable and were released to their homes.
Later in the day, at approximately 3 p.m., another incident was reported between Mapuche individuals and the police on a second farm called “Santa Cristina.” This incident involved 20 masked individuals who fired a weapon at a guard station set-up to defend the land in question. One police officer was injured and all of the group members fled without being caught.
We will update the story as more details come out about what happened on October 2nd become available.