SANTIAGO – Thirteen people were arrested in Concepcion, a city in southern Chile, in an incident that occurred at the city’s hospital when two Mapuche Indian prisoners on hunger strike were admitted after experiencing health problems, police said Sunday.
About 30 sympathizers of the 34 Mapuche prisoners on hunger strike for the past 63 days on Saturday attacked the guards transporting Jonathan Huilical and Jose Huenuche.
At the Concepcion hospital another Mapuche – Ramon Llanquileo – was already receiving care after having injured himself with a sharp object in jail.
Some of the prisoners’ spokesmen were among those arrested in the disturbance, which spread to a nearby campus of the University of Concepcion, Carabineros militarized police precinct chief Hermes Soto told reporters.
The situation worsened when police beat Emilia Pilquiman, the 50-year-old mother of Ramon Llanquileo, Mapuche representatives said, adding that among those arrested is a 17-year-old boy who was injured in the head.
Also placed under arrest were “representatives of the alternative press,” Mapuche spokesman Natividad Llanquileo told Radio Bio Bio.
He criticized “the non-existent intention of the government” to seek a solution to the hunger strike.
The Mapuches who are not eating, among whom are two teenagers who joined the movement Sept. 1, consider themselves to be political prisoners and are demanding not to be tried under the anti-terrorist law or be subjected to a double trial before both civil and military courts.
The government sent to Congress two bills modifying both laws and if they are approved they could favor the Mapuche prisoners, but so far there has been no statement issued regarding the proposal of a dialogue put forward by the Catholic and Protestant churches and the political opposition.
The government, however, has made repeated calls to the Mapuches to halt their hunger strike and has taken measures to prevent any of the prisoners from dying.