ICC Note: A group of unidentified attackers recently burned down a Catholic church and destroyed its nearby power lines in southern Chile. Police have since reported that there have been at least 16 churches destroyed in the region since the beginning of 2016. Although it appears as though some of these recent attacks have been politically motivated, unfortunately local Christians are the ones who are suffering the consequences.
By James Macintyre
08/05/2016 Chile (Christian Today) – A Catholic church has been burned down in southern Chile, according to police.
Unknown attackers burned the church and destroyed two high-tension electricity towers, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Police said that at least 16 Catholic and Protestant churches have been burned so far this year in the Ercilla region where Mapuche indigenous activists are demanding recovery of traditional lands lost to Spanish invaders and post-colonial governments.
A message referring to a Mapuche resistance movement was reportedly left near the church. Officials said the power lines were cut down with electric saws.
In June, a Catholic church in the Chilean capital of Santiago was ransacked by students who were protesting against the government of President Michelle Bachelet.
The student protesters accused Bachelet of reneging on a number of promises regarding social and economic reforms, especially a planned overhaul of education.
At the end of the march through downtown Santiago, masked protesters entered the church and destroyed a ten-foot tall statue of Jesus.