On Wednesday, November 2nd, more violence broke out in Ercilla resulting in multiple injuries and arrests. Although the details and timeline of the incidents are disputed, according to multiple reports rubber bullets were fired by both Mapuche individuals as well as police officers in the area of Chequenco on Wednesday. The initial confrontation appears to have started in relation to the presence of forestry vehicles — with police protection — operating in the area. By the end of the day, in addition to injuries, two Mapuche individuals were taken into custody on the one hand, and the Mapuche community of Wente Winkul Mapu was considering a lawsuit against the police on the other.
While it appears that there were multiple confrontations between police and Mapuche individuals throughout the day, the most details have come out of one that took place between two masked Mapuche individuals and the police. According to various accounts, the police were guarding forestry vehicles in the area when two masked individuals began firing rubber bullets on the officers. The police returned fire — also using rubber bullets. By the end of the confrontation, three police officers had been injured — including one with a serious eye injury. Additionally, the two Mapuche individuals were arrested and two weapons — a shotgun and a revolver — were confiscated. In addition to the physical violence, some reports also indicated that the attack was accompanied with road blocks designed to prevent forestry vehicles from entering the area.
In addition to this confrontation, Daniel Melinao, the wekren (spokesperson) for the Mapuche community of Wente Winkul Mapu, indicated that at apprxoimately 6 p.m. local time, another incident occurred in which three community members were injured and required medical attention. This incident involved around 20 police officers who, according to Melinao opened fire without provocation, resulting in injuries to three Mapuche individuals. There were also allegations of tear gas being used in the area and Melinao stated that the village was under “heavy police surveillance.” Given the seriousness of the incident, the community is considering brining a lawsuit against the police for their actions.
These incidents — while the details remain unclear — are part of a larger ongoing story of violence in Ercilla that has its roots in land rights. You can read more of our coverage on this topic here.