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Mapuche

At least seven military police were injured in a confrontation with Indigenous Mapuche in the Araucania region of Chile on Wednesday.

Many Mapuche warmly greeted President Sebastián Piñera’s recent promise to give “top priority and urgency” to finding a constitutional solution that will recognize Chile’s Indigenous Mapuche people, a 700,000-person strong minority group that constitutes 6 percent of Chile’s population.

More than 600 Mapuche representatives gathered in Chile’s conflict-torn La Araucanía region on Wednesday to discuss proposals for self-government and address the violent clashes between Indigenous activists and state authorities in southern Chile over land ownership and restitution.

Four Chilean congressional representatives from opposition parties announced today that they are joining an ongoing hunger strike by 34 indigenous Mapuche prisoners, who are protesting the use of Pinochet-era anti-terrorism laws to charge indigenous civilians for their role in land disputes with the government.

Indigenous community leaders on Monday staged a take-over of Santiago-based radio station Bío-Bío to protest the station’s failure to report on the hunger strike of 32 Mapuche activists.