Day 97

Mapuche March through Temuco

Temuco has started to feel like home. We have our apartment that we like, have our routines pretty well down, and things are going well. At times, it doesn’t even feel like we’re in Chile, just another town in the United States, commuting to work on a fairly regular schedule, heading home and making some dinner and then doing it again. However, yesterday was one of those days where we were reminded that unpredictable things can happen here (and well, anywhere).

On our way to the Foundation, we started to see a group of people gathering in the square near our apartment. I didn’t think anything of it, but it stuck with Sarah. Once we got to the Foundation, we were told that Mapuche protesters were organizing a peaceful march / rally to protest a police shooting of a Mapuche individual from the previous year. They had tried to do this on March 20th, but the police squashed it since it wasn’t properly pre-approved. Well, apparently this one also didn’t have pre-approval, so the town was anticipating the police to intervene and bracing for potential violence.

It wasn’t until a few moments later that our phones buzzed and we received a “News Alert” from our GeoBlue Travel App, which alerts of potentially unsafe situations or important activities of countries you subscribe to – and it popped up saying that the protest was planned and to avoid the area.

The team at the foundation had planned to have a community lunch between the five of us – and Sarah was learning how to make sopaipillas (her dream). Anyways, we got a text from Susana saying she couldn’t make it because everything was blocked off downtown and she couldn’t navigate to the Foundation. Apparently, the protesters and police were getting into it and it resulted in water cannons, tear gas, rock throwing, etc.

Here is an article highlighting some of the events (in English).

From what we’ve read and heard, there was limited injuries, but apparently quite a few arrests. It was crazy to think that this was happening in Temuco, where we have felt nothing but safe.

But to end this post on a positive note – please see the photos of Sarah making sopaipillas.

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