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A Bullet to the Head Reignites Chile's Oldest Conflict

A demonstrator is arrested by riot police during a protest for the death of Mapuche Camilo Catrillanca in Santiago, on Nov. 15. 

A demonstrator is arrested by riot police during a protest for the death of Mapuche Camilo Catrillanca in Santiago, on Nov. 15. 

Photographer: Martin Barnetti/AFP via Getty Images

The killing of a young man by police in southern Chile last week has reignited a centuries-old conflict with the country’s indigenous Mapuche population, threatening to undermine support for billionaire President Sebastian Pinera.

Militarized police shot Camilo Catrillanca through the head as he drove a tractor near the village of Ercilla following reports of a violent car theft nearby. The government later said a police officer had destroyed video evidence of the incident.