The authorities denied having detained her, but photos show how they pinned her to the ground. The little girl is the daughter of Camilo Catrillanca, murdered by the police in 2018.
The institutional violence suffered by a seven-year-old Mapuche girl gave rise to a climate of indignation and repudiation in Chile against the police officers who surrounded her, squeezed her and threw her to the ground to immobilize her during an operation in her community. In addition, the officers transferred her to a police station.
The events occurred in Temucuicui, a town located in the Temuco commune in southern Chile, where members of the Chilean Investigative Police (PDI) detained Katherine Antin and Teresa Marín, who, respectively, were the wife and the mother of Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche community member who was killed in November 2018 during a police operation.
Wacolda tiene 7 años y es una niña mapuche.
Wacolda ayer estaba de cumpleaños y viajaba junto a su madre y abuela a la formalizacion de Alarcón, quien mató a su papá, Camilo Catrillanca.
Wacolda como cualquier niñx tiene derechos y debería estar protegida por ellxs. pic.twitter.com/SVCHTkz8LI
— #Cicletadadelasniñas (@cicletadaninas) January 8, 2021
Qué sentirán estos “valientes”? Qué puede llevarlos a aplastar contra el suelo a una niñita de siete años, cuyo padre fue asesinado por la policía? Realmente estiman que esa criatura es peligrosa y q debe ser sometida por ocho hombres fuertemente armados? @RodrigoDelgadoM pic.twitter.com/DYxb2qhXVz
— #PamelaJilesDiputada (@PamJiles) January 8, 2021
On Thursday, the Oral Criminal Court of Angol condemned former sergeants of the Special Police Operations Group (GOPE) Carlos Alarcón and Raúl Ávila for the crime of “second degree murder” against Catrillanca and for unlawful coercion and unjustified shooting while four policemen and a lawyer were found guilty of obstructing the investigation.
At the same time as the sentences were being issued, the police operation was carried out in which the relatives of Catrillanca were arrested and his child was detained. The incident sparked a series of complaints on social networks and demands for their immediate release.
En estos momentos sale de la comisaría #Wakolda hija de Camilo Catrillanca que hoy cumple 7 años de edad. Mientras su madre Katherine Antin y abuela (madre de Camilo) continúan detenidas.
Dónde están los derechos de los niños Mapuche❓vía Anka Wuala pic.twitter.com/kHRzApA5wP
— Феліпе Ⓐ🏴🏴☠️ (@negrasideas) January 7, 2021
No más represión a niños y niñas Mapuche!!!
No más terrorismo de estado en Wallmapu!!! pic.twitter.com/84I31fkjcR
— Illapu (@illapu) January 8, 2021
At the institutional level, the Children’s Ombudsman reported this morning in a press release that it has filed a complaint against the illegal and arbitrary detention of the minor girl before the Court of Appeals of Temuco.
🟥COMUNICADO DE PRENSA🟥 Defensoría de la Niñez interpone acción constitucional de amparo frente a la detención ilegal y arbitraria de niña de 7 años de edad en Temucuicui pic.twitter.com/sRULBBk8VA
— Defensoría de la Niñez (@defensorianinez) January 8, 2021
According to the official statement, “the complaint was filed against the Director General of the Chilean Investigative Police, the Chief Inspector Prefect of the Araucanía Zone and against the officials who participated in the events”.
The Office of the Ombudsman also added that the detention of a little girl is unacceptable, since it constitutes a “deprivation, disturbance or threat” to her right to personal liberty and individual security.
Patricia Muñoz, Ombudswoman for the Rights of Children, specified that the minor was detained for three hours in a vehicle of the Chilean Investigative Police, until she was handed over to her grandfather Marcelo Catrillanca.
In this case, she stressed, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was violated, which obliges states to adopt judicial, administrative and social protection and care measures to ensure the best interests of children.
Later, the Chilean Investigative Police tried to defend itself through a statement in which it assured that it had never detained the minor.
[Comunicado] Con relación a publicación de la Defensoría de Niñez en su cuenta de twitter, informamos: pic.twitter.com/svOxXlUuuQ
— PDI Chile (@PDI_CHILE) January 8, 2021
“These statements are false, since they confuse the public and construct fallacious realities,” declared the police through the official statement. “Two adult women who were in company of the minor were arrested, and obviously the minor could not be left alone on the public highway; hence she was transferred to the premises of the Police Subcommissioning Station,” informed the statement.
Images recorded during the operation, however, demonstrate an entirely different situation, since it can be seen how three uniformed men escorting the girl pulled her by the arms and finally threw her facedown on the street while one of them pulled the vest that she was wearing.
Featured image: A police officer is engulfed in a cloud of tear gas in Santiago, Chile. March 6, 2020. Pablo Sanhueza / Reuters.