The Guardian 13 July, 2005

Protest against
visit of Chilean President

Chilean solidarity groups have received information that the Chilean President Ricardo Lagos is visiting Australia from July 13-16. They are organising protests against this visit to Canberra and Sydney, and it is important that they have maximum support. Chilean people are living in a so-called democracy, which is founded upon Pinochet's Dictatorship Constitution coupled with neo-liberalism.

The Howard government could soon pass industrial relations legislation very similar to that imposed by right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet on Chile in 1981, which President Ricardo Lagos maintains to this day.

The Ricardo Lagos government continues the repressive policies against the Mapuche people living in Southern Chile. In response to Mapuche resistance the Chilean government has chosen to apply anti-terrorist laws inherited from the military dictatorship to persecute leaders and ban their organisations. There are reports of torture, extra-judicial killings and unjust detention of Mapuche leaders by state authorities.

Many of these atrocities have their roots in the expropriation of ancestral indigenous lands by forestry plantation companies (including New Zealand & Japanese companies), large landowners and the Chilean state. In the last eight years there has been a resurgence of active mobilisation of the Mapuche people reclaiming territories appropriated by the Chilean state and in hands of logging and energy companies (such us, WMC, BHP-Billiton from Australia).

Show your support for the struggles of the Chilean and Mapuche peoples by attending the demonstrations and other activities against Ricardo Lagos's visit to Australia. Friday July 15 from 9:00am SHANGRI-LA HOTEL 176 Cumberland Street, Sydney

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