CHILE - Protests against the murderous Chilean state

On the 16th of November people of several cities in Chile took to the streets to protest against two brutal murders by the hand of the Chilean state: Camilo Catrillanca and Alejandro Castro. On the 15th of November Mapuche activist Camilo Catrillanca was killed by the carabinier unit "Comando Jungla" (an elite unit trained to fight the Mapuche Community classified as terrorist) leaving behind his pregnant wife and a 6 year old daughter. This event has set off a violent reaction of the Chilean populace, which called for mass protests nationwide.

Catrillanca, who was in the middle of construction works at home, was driving a tracktor when the carabiniers arrived with several cars and a helicopter. What was about to happen has been covered up by the Chilean state under the guise of a persecution of car robbers. The carabinieris opened fire on him and Maikol Castillo, a 15 year old who was accompanying Catrillanca on his trip. Catrillanca was shot in the head and back and died in hospital all the while agonizing in pain. The carabinieris took Castillo with them and while in detention beat and mistreated him for hours, releasing him because the treatment he was receiving was deemed illegal.

Soon after his death the Chilean state tried to cover up the murder disguising it as a car robbery pursuit with collateral damage. Since the obvious fabricated story did not hold, the state started lying about Catrillancas criminal record, the president even taking some time off his foreign visit in Malaysia to back up up the carabinier's actions on Twitter. All of this things were proven false by Catrillanca's attorney and a body of law professors, which only further increased the rage and hate from the populace.

The 16th of November ambientalist protestors had planned to protest in the Chilean capital Santiago to commemorate the death of Alejandro Castro, an ambientalist activist, who has also been murdered by the Chilean state in 2016. Catrillanca's protest, which saw a rapid rise of hundreds and hundreds of people coming together united with Castro's protest, becoming one big protest against the murderous Chilean state.

The protest, which congregated thousands of Mapuche and Chileans united for the same cause, concentrated at Plaza Italia, a square in Santiago. Their voices were loud and clear and they made their rage heared. The repression took one hour to close in the square, after which they started moving in in full anti-riot gear. They used whatever they had in their arsenal to beat down the protest, aiming their water cannons directly at protesters and firing gas cannisters en masse. The protesters reported the liquid thrown was not water but some substance that burned and irritated the skin. Many protesters formed blockades with their bodies to protect the children, who were being affected by the tear gas and the streams of watercannons.

As the repression went on, the people in their hatred and fury did not budge and resisted for 4 hours straight continuing after it got dark. The protest did not dissolve but rather regrouped in strategic points of the city. Carabiniers fled their vehicles, which were soon set ablaze. In the end 40 protesters were detained and 7 carabiniers were injured. In Mapuche areas there were reports of arson that went on until dawn.

The protest has been one of the fiercest clashes in recent Chilean history, the rapid organisation of the protest showing the people are beyond done with the repression by the state.

Catrillanc, who already at 15 years of age lead groups of activists in occupations, once said: "I'm not afraid of these fuckers. I dare you, take out the gun and kill me now like they do it back there (in Araucanía)". It's this defiance, which the state fears. It's the same defiance they shot Catrillanc dead. The same defiance, which they tried to extinguish, but that has now echoed across the country. Now, they are reaping what they sowed.

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