A Spanish language poster asks "Where is Santiago Maldonado?" The young activist was reported missing on August 1, 2017, after participating in a protest in support of indigenous land rights. Image: Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (Center for Legal and Social Studies)

Mapuche activists evicted from land protest on ancestral territory in Argentina

Mapuche activists and their allies were evicted by military police in Argentina last week and one supporter has gone missing.

The removal occurred on ancestral Mapuche territory in the Patagonia region. According to the Center for Legal and Social Studies, about 100 officers entered the area and fired rubber and lead bullets at activists.

Sometime during the August 1 incident, Santiago Maldonado went missing. Activists, human rights groups and even the country's former president believe the police had something to do with it, a charge the government denies.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who left office in 2015, is among those calling on the government to find Maldonado. The Grandmothers and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group formed by women to find the thousands of children and young people who went missing during the country's Dirty War, are staging a demonstration on Friday in Buenos Aires, the capital city, to call attention to the issue.

The eviction took place on land currently owned by a subsidiary of Benetton, a global fashion company based in Italy. Mapuche activists occupied the site since 2015, according to the Associated Press.

Similar actions have occurred in Chile, where the Mapuche represent about 9 percent of the population.

Read More on the Story:
Argentina rights groups demand info on missing activist (AP August 8, 2017)
Argentina activist missing after indigenous people evicted from Benetton land (The Guardian August 8, 2017)
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo: Maldonado Victim of 'State Violence' (teleSUR August 8, 2017)
UN Urges Argentine Govt to Search for Disappeared Activist (teleSUR August 8, 2017)

Related Stories:
Mapuche people in Chile demand land and self-determination (June 13, 2014)