Argentina: Qom Community (Toba) Goes to Supreme Court Amidst Violent Protests and Accusations of Police Brutality

On May 22, 2013 the Qom (or Toba) people of Argentina were granted a hearing at Argentina’s Supreme Court to discuss their ongoing land dispute. For years, the Qom have tried to get the Argentinian government to recognize their land rights in the province of Formosa, along the Paraguay border. The Qom community’s efforts have included round table meetings with government officials, protests, encampment in Buenos Aires, among other strategies. Oftentimes, these protests have ended in violence as was the alleged case on May 22nd, when reports that more than 50 Qom had been injured by police and more than 100 had been arrested.

In addition to the injuries and arrests, around the time the hearing was taking place, two Qom individuals — a 37-year old man named Florentín Díaz and his 2-year-old son — were killed. According to the Institute for Chaco Aboriginals, the deaths were caused by the Argentinian police. Specifically, they claim that Díaz was a victim of an extreme police crackdown designed to break up protests in thirteen different communities and as he was trying to get away from the police he, and his son, were beaten, ultimately causing their deaths. These accusations are vehemently denied by the Argentinian government who claim that the deaths were simply caused by a traffic accident. Specifically, the police indicate that it was a motorcycle accident involving Díaz, his son, and two other individuals who were treated and survived. The police reports deny that the deaths had anything to do with the protests and state that such claims are “malicious” and made by indigenous leaders “seeking to create a climate of confrontation.”

For more information on the history of the Qom peoples’ struggle to have their land rights recognized, take a look at the following links:

See the articles linked in this story and additional Indigenous headlines by clicking here (updated daily).

Posted in: Argentina, Toba

One Response to Argentina: Qom Community (Toba) Goes to Supreme Court Amidst Violent Protests and Accusations of Police Brutality

  1. Pingback: Argentina: Pope Francis Meets with Qom (Toba) Leader | IndigenousNews.org

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