Protest over new airport in La Araucanía

By Richard High07 May 2009

A group of Mapuche Indians have held a protest march over construction of a new airport in La Araucanía in the Municipality of Freire, Chile, according to local newspaper El Mercurio.

In a statement the group said the CLP 2.6 billion (US$ 4.6 million) airport, which will be built on 500 ha of land 20 km south of the city of Temuco, will occupy sacred land and that the government is not respecting their ancestors or the tribe.

The new 2-level, 4990 m2 airport will replace the current Maquehue Airport, which is located 5 km southwest of Temuco in the Araucanía Region of Chile, will have a 2.44 km-long, 45 m-wide runway. Future plans could include extending the runway to 3.2 km.

The Mapuche are the indigenous inhabitants of central and southern Chile and southern Argentina.

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