Following the murder of a 21-year Mapuche member by Argentine police, the Indigenous community has declared it will continue to fight for its land rights regardless of increasing military and police repression under the government of Mauricio Macri.
"Before this oppression and the great loss of a warrior during the struggle, we were sad, but we will continue fighting to defend our lands," said Lof Lafken Winkul Mapu community member and a cousin of the deceased, Rafael Nahuel.
He detailed the incident, saying his people had taken to the mountain for shelter after being violently evicted.
The shooting took place on top of a mountain, near a national park-owned property where community members had been violently evicted by authorities Thursday on the orders of Federal Judge Gustavo Villanueva.
Two other members of the evicted Lof Lafken Winkul Mapu community in Villa Mascardi were wounded by bullets fired by security forces, resumenlatinoamericano.org reported.
According to Mapuche leader Moira Millan, along with the murder of Nahuel, many people suffered injuries while others remained unaccounted for.
The Network of Support to Communities in Conflict, an organization that brings together Mapuche groups, immediately took to social media to denounce the police action.
One of the wounded was hit by a bullet in the abdomen, the other in the shoulder, MAP said in a statement.
“When they traveled down today, thinking that nothing would happen to them,” he said of the Indigenous refugees,”They were shot and three people were wounded, one of whom died."
“Today we mourn the fallen, but they died in a dignified way on Mapuche territory, on their land,” the relative said.
In addition, he said he couldn’t provide any new information on the status of the three injured persons, caught in the crossfire of Saturday's police attack.
Outside the Ramon Carrillo hospital, Mapuche members stood vigil, waiting for news on their loved ones injured in the raid, but after midnight, they were pushed from the scene by police forces.
Since the incident, protests led by human rights leaders and Indigenous communities have also been organized around the city. After standing for two hours outside the hospital, a group of Mapuche women and social organizations moved their demonstration to a nearby cathedral where they interrupted a religious ceremony while demanding justice for the 21-year old murdered by police.
Natalia Araya, the Indigenous community’s lawyer, told local media she plans to present a habeas corpus appeal to “guarantee the safety of the people on the street” and will attempt to access the current state of the injured Mapuche members.