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  • A march in defense of Mapuche rights

    A march in defense of Mapuche rights | Photo: EFE

The announcement followed the government's decision to drop the controversial “terrorism” charges against the Mapuche prisoners.

Three of the four Mapuche activists imprisoned for one year and four months have decided to put an end to the hunger strike they started 117 days ago as a protest against their captivity.

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The announcement followed the government's decision to drop the controversial “terrorism” charges against the Mapuche prisoners.

Mapuche leader Alfredo Tralcal and the brothers Benito and Pablo Trangol said they will resume a normal diet, while Ariel Trangol is maintaining the hunger strike until the measure of preventive prison is lifted.

The day before, Interior Minister Mario Fernandez announced that the government will not use the Anti-terrorism bill against the activists, after meeting their relatives along with President Michelle Bachelet.

The move was harshly criticized by the right-wing parties the Independent Democratic Union and National Renovation, who claimed the government was being too indulgent with the Mapuche activists, accused of leading an arson attack and burning an evangelical church in 2016 in the town of Padre de Las Casas.

However, since they were arrested one year and four months ago, prosecutors have not been able to find any evidence against them.

The Mapuche members claim they are innocent but are being held under an anti-terrorism bill passed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The bill establishes harsher penalties and has been applied to the Mapuches for their ancestral struggle for land rights.

Chile's largest native ethnic group continues to fight with the government as it tries to regain land lost during Chile's 19th Century expansion southward into the Mapuche-held territory.

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