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|Protest for Release of Mapuche Political Prisoners|
|Date||Wednesday May 19|
|Time||12:00 PM - 2:00 PM|
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|Chilean Consulate in San Francisco, 870 Market Street 10th Floor.|
BAY AREA DELEGATION TO PROTEST AT CHILEAN CONSULATE FOR RELEASE OF MAPUCHE POLITICAL PRISONERS IN CHILE
The Task Force on the Americas and La Pena del Sur will be sponsoring a delegation of human rights activists to protest at the Chilean Consulate of San Francisco at 870 Market Street 10th Floor on Wednesday, May 19th 2010 at 12 noon. The Chilean police force under the newly elected government of Sebastian Pineira is once again leading an all out attack against the Mapuche people, the indigenous people of the territories covering both the south of Chile and Argentina.
The Juan Paillelef community near Temuco, Chile has suffered continued repression at the hands of the police which has resulted in the imprisonment of many of their leaders.Lonko (Chief) Juana Calfunao has been in prison for four years where was brutally tortured and beaten to the point of losing her unborn child.
A peaceful demonstration of families of political prisoners was violently repressed by police in Temuco, Chile on May 12, 2010 where 18 Mapuche youth were arrested. This demonstration was covered by former Bay Area resident, photographer and journalist, Alejandro Stuart.
The following day, during the early morning hours, the home of Waikilaf Calfunao was raided by police and Waikilaf, the son of Juana Calfunao was arrested. Alejandro Stuart who was staying at Waikilaf’s home had all of his archives, computer and camera confiscated by police.
The Mapuche community and supporters fear that trumped up charges may be brought against Waikilaf because witnesses saw police bring in materials that were not present at his home before the raid. The Chilean government has a history of framing Mapuche leaders and trying them under anti terrorist laws. The Anti Terrorist Law has been inherited from the Pinochet regime and has been used specifically against the Mapuche people throughout the successive center/left Concertacion coalition governments as well as today by the right wing Pineira administration. Several Mapuche communities throughout the South of Chile have claims to land stolen from them as recently as the Pinochet regime that are now being occupied by Forestry and Energy companies.
The delegation of human rights activists demand the release of Mapuche political prisoners including Chief Juana Calfunao and her son and leader Waikilef Calfunao; and condemn the police raids of communities and homes of the Mapuche people.
Furthermore, the international community has also condemned the use of torture against
the Mapuche political prisoners and demand that the Chilean government provide a political solution to this conflict instead of targeting and labeling the leaders as terrorists. The Mapuches are not terrorists but indigenous people struggling for autonomy and territory guaranteed to them through international treaties.