Santiago (AFP) -
One person died and 17 others were injured Sunday as riot police clashed with protesters in the Chilean capital during a rally by the indigenous Mapuche community.
About a thousand activists, many wearing ponchos and traditional head ornaments, marched in the center of Santiago, demanding autonomy for the Mapuche, when police moved in to disperse the protest with water cannons and tear gas.
Protesters responded with sticks and stones in a confrontation that lasted about 40 minutes, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.
Chilean police said in a statement that one woman was injured by fireworks and 17 police officers were hurt in the clashes. The woman, who was a lawyer with the Ombudsman's Office, later died of her injuries, according to officials.
A total of 10 people were arrested following the clashes.
The Chilean state has long been accused of discrimination against the Mapuche people, the country's largest indigenous group, who centuries ago controlled vast areas of Chile but have since been marginalized.
Considered the earliest inhabitants of parts of Chile, the Mapuche fought against the Spanish conquerors and later the Chilean army after the country's independence in the 19th century.
Their numbers were reduced to only 700,000, a fraction of Chile's current population of 17 million.