Friday, 02 October 2009
Seize Traditional Cloths And Herbal Plants

The building where the group “Mujeres Tejedoras” (Women Weavers) crafted traditional Mapuche clothing and textiles remains padlocked and deserted after an apparent sting operation launched by Chilean police on Tuesday. The Women Weavers group said police did not present any search warrants or tell them why they were raiding the building.

In this latest clash between Carabineros (Chile’s uniformed police force) and Mapuches (Chile’s largest indigenous group), three bus loads of police surprised group members setting up for the day’s workshop at their workplace in Santiago’s Lastarria neighborhood Tuesday morning. One woman was taken in to police custody for questioning.

Mapuexpress, a pro-Mapuche publication, alleged that the police seized crafts and medicinal herbs thinking the materials could be used to build Molotov bombs.

But the group insists the medicinal herbs were for traditional Mapuche remedies and, although they were marinated in alcohol, they were not intended for bomb-making purposes.

“We deeply lament these actions of structural violence from the Chilean government,” said the group in a statement. “It is brutal and criminal that Chile’s law enforcement, rather than seeking a peaceful and effective solution, acted in this manner.

“(Las Mujeres Tejedoras) have been kicked out and we find ourselves outside doing workshops outside of our property (the building on Lastarria) and are constantly being watched by Carabineros.”

The building’s doors still showed some signs of the raid on Thursday, with one large hole revealing the deserted space inside. Carabineros have yet to make any official statements on the incident.

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