The Chilean government and indigenous Mapuche activists have had an uneasy relationship in recent years. Tensions worsened over the past week after authorities accused the Mapuche of setting off major wildfires followed by the suspected arson of an indigenous leader's house over the weekend.
In the latest incident a magistrate on Wednesday ordered an investigation into a suspected case of brutality by the military police (or Carabineros) against a Mapuche woman and her one-year-old son. Judge Federico Gutiérrez also called on the Carabineros to "respect the law through their actions" after permitting as evidence amateur video showing the alleged aggression by police.
Gutiérrez ordered the release of two women from custody who where arrested yesterday after being accused of disturbing the peace by supposedly participating in an attempted highway blockade.
Gen. Iván Bezmalinovic, the Carabineros chief in the region where the occurrence took place, claimed that one of the Mapuche apparently lunged at the officers but he also admitted that he will examine the video "frame by frame" to see if there was abuse by the police. See for yourself the video of the incident that took place in the presence of several seemingly traumatized children:
Online Sources - Univision.com, La Tercera, NPR, BBC News,The Latin Americanist
Video Source - YouTube via ELHERALDOINTERNET