Since July 7th, 2017, four Mapuche Political Prisoners have maintained a hunger strike that has now lasted upwards of over 107 days. They have been held in pre-trial custody for over a year, under what has been considered an abusive and irregular process under the Anti-Terrorist Law in using anonymous witnesses. Despite the announcements made by the Prosecutor, Luis Torres, in finalizing the investigation seven months ago, bypassing the recent Chilean Independence celebrations, the trial has yet to commence. Family members and support networks have solicited the Chilean government to deal with the prisoners’ situation, recurring to regional authorities – and even to the Ministers of the Interior and Justice, but these have remained evasive and broad in their response. Family and prisoner support networks had given a 72-hour ultimatum, which ended on Wednesday September 20th, 2017, with no response from government officials.
Various protests have taken place nationally and internationally that demand justice for Lonko [Chief] Alfredo Tralcal Coche, and brothers Ariel Alexis Trangol Galindo, Benito Rubén Trangol Galindo, and Pablo Iván Trangol Galindo, imprisoned in the Penitentiary Centre of Temuco. They wait for the word of Mario Fernandez, Minister of the Interior, to resolve this complex and critical moment, where new lives are at risk, already surpassing the ultimatum date put forward by family and support networks of the Mapuche Political Prisoners.
In Santiago, [Chile’s capital city], protests took place around the National Stadium this past September 19th. Nvtram ceremonies were also held at Welen Hill (aka Santa Lucia), as well as a mass protest called for the September 20th ultimatum in support of the Mapuche Political Prisoners. Occupations have taken place in the National Corporation for Indigenous Development (CONADI) in Santiago, after a march from the Ministry of the Interior. Protests also took place on September 18th during the State mass commemorating Chilean Independence at the Santiago Cathedral, the military parade, and in the Andes township of Curarrahue, where international roads were blocked. Other protests in the capita city have been called for September 21st at 7PM in the neighbourhood of Peñalolen, and protests are being called throughout the territory for Thursday, including Valparaiso, Temuco and Concepcion.
International acts of solidarity for the Mapuche Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike have also been expressed in the Basque Country, Los Angeles, United Snakes, Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo Norway. Further, there has also been a call for national and international solidarity by the continental network of Social Movements under the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
These calls to action demand that the Chilean government cease the application of the Anti-Terrorist Law, imposed by August Pinochet in 1984, placing their full support behind the legitimate demands of our Mapuche brothers on hunger strike. These include:
A right to due process
Stop the application of the Anti-Terrorist Law
Overturn the pre-trial custody conditions for the Mapuche Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike