SANTIAGO, Chile – Chile’s police have clashed with Mapuche Indians who were holding a protest to demand land rights and autonomy. Police shot tear gas and water cannons when the demonstration by 3,000 Mapuche Indians in the capital Santiago turned violent. Police said 16 people were arrested in the rally timed to coincide with a national holiday for “Dia de La Raza,” which celebrates the first encounter by Native Americans and Europeans during Christopher Columbus’ arrival to America.
Protesters also demanded the release of four Mapuches who have been on a hunger strike for 50 days after they were accused of the death of a Chilean police officer. The demonstration is now under control and members of the Mapuche tribe are showcasing cultural events to celebrate their ancestry in a Santiago park.