Chile: Peoples’ Uprising / An Exhibit of Images from the Front Lines was scheduled to open 3 April 2020 in Buffalo, NY’s ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art. We postponed the opening due to the pandemic. Then we permanently closed the physical gallery, which was known for its cutting edge social and cultural mission, and moved our final exhibit opening online on 30 July 2020.

What follows is the exhibit, but it is more than that. It is also a diary and journal of a team of four people who attempted to capture the Peoples’ Uprising in photographs and videos. From Santiago to the streets of Temuco to Indigenous Mapuche land occupations in stolen Mapuche territory, this is a journal of resistance, courage, hope and love. This is about a struggle we should be fighting all over the world.”

Orin Langelle, 03 August 2020

Anonymous musician heads to the front lines. The majority of the front lines are personned by youth.


02 August 2020 – In 1973, the US helped bring the notorious and bloody Pinochet Dictatorship to Chile with the overthrow of the democratically elected Salvador Allende. The violent regime ushered in a neoliberal experiment where all public services in the country were privatized and land stolen from Mapuche people and others and handed to rich elites and large corporations. The Uprising documented in this exhibit that launched in Chile in late October of 2019 in reaction to a small increase in subway fares was really a mass revolt against the neoliberal system that never went away even when democracy was re-established in Chile. The neoliberal model kept many living on the economic edge, and drove many Mapuche communities into desperate poverty. But the protests are not seeking reform. While the target for now is to replace the Constitution left over from Pinochet, that is only the beginning, the first step toward a new future for the peoples of Chile. That is what we witnessed and what you will find in the images below.

The first section of this virtual exhibit consists of the photographs of Orin Langelle. After that are videos shot by Anne Petermann, with one from Gary Hughes.  Included is the video of the virtual opening from 30 July 2020. Finally at the end is the powerful performance by Las Tesis, the Chilean Anarcha-feminist group whose emblematic protest of systemic violence against women has since been performed by women all over the world.

The spirit of those days remains with all of us that were on the documentary team: Orin Langelle, Anne Petermann, Gary Hughes and Alejandra Parra.


22 November 2019 (Santiago) – A revolution without single leaderswhere militancy, music and art meet and complement each other: #Despierto – Awake

Photographer’s note: Upon arriving at our hotel in Santiago, Anne Petermann and I linked up with Biofuelwatch’s Gary Hughes and headed toward the mass action up the street. Even though thousands of people have been detained, more than twenty killed and over 200 people with serious injuries to their eyes, yesterday afternoon was energizing to say the least.

Not too far down the street I smelled tear gas and also smelled the smoke of marijuana. People, some masked, walked with a defiance that was amazing. Streets were clogged with protesters. In areas of green space people rested, played music, sang and others formed a circle dance.


Protester climbing wall as protests occur in the streets


Protester on wall has a vantage point as the uprising continues in the streets


Bottle flies from a demonstrator toward the water cannon.


25 November 2019 (Temuco) – The Mapuche community of Lautaro is threatened by a polluting waste-to-energy incinerator that claims to produce “clean, renewable energy” in a town already impacted by a biomass burning plant. This march was held on the last day of a public comment period to deliver thousands of comments against the project.


Participants march against Lautaro’s “green incinerator”


All ages took part in the march against Lautaro’s “green incinerator”


25 November 2019 (Temuco) – Women’s March on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – The police appear to be more likely to force women and girls to strip than men, based on data that the National Human Rights Institute collected and interviews Human Rights Watch conducted. A Chilean human rights lawyer told Human Rights Watch of a case in which men and women were detained in the same circumstances, but only women were forced to undress, and cases of police touching women’s genitalia after they were forced to strip.

This day commemorates the Mirabal sisters who fought the dictatorship of Raphael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in the 1950s.  Known as “the butterflies,” three of the four sisters were assassinated by the dictatorship on 25 November 1960.


Women involved in the protests taking place across Chile have been targeted for sexual abuse and rape by the Chilean National Police (Carabineros), leading to marches around the country demanding an end to violence against women


Another of the most common allegations was that police forced detainees, including children, to undress and squat fully naked in police stations


¡Justicia Ahora! – Justice Now!


November 2019 – A Few Days in Wallmapu (Indigenous Mapuche territory) – After the popular uprising began in October the following two Indigenous Mapuche communities, Liempi Colipi and Quilape López, began an re-occupation of their territorial land in southern Chile


View from the Mapuche re-occupation. “Our land is far as you can see…”


Mapuche ceremony in Liempi Colipi we were allowed to photograph and film


In Quilape López


Mapuche boy practices blowing the traditional horn in Quilape López

Mapuche men in Quilape López symbolically demonstrate the commitment of the re-occupation of their homeland


28 November 2019, near Curacautín Wallmapu – On U.S. “Thanksgiving” Day (known now as the National Day of Mourning) Indigenous Mapuche in Liempi Colipi, occupying their ancestral lands in defiance of the state, were attacked by Carabineros (Chile National Police). The Carabineros fired rubber coated metal pellets and tear gas, injuring several people at the blockade.


Carabineros stopped and prevented traffic from continuing on the road that passes the two Mapuche land occupations outside of Curacautín. The public road is also the main route to Conguillío National Park in Chile.


Mapuche men block entrance to Liempi Colipi, a Mapuche community that had been occupying 1500 ha of ancestral lands for two weeks. They were attacked by the police twice, with some members injured and others hospitalized.


Mapuche standing by the one of the entrances to the re-occupation are prepared if another offensive by the Carabineros occurs


This man was shot in the head with rubber coated metal pellets earlier in the morning


Mapuche Lonko (leader) Juan Huenuhueque of Liempi Colipi raises his fist as the imminent threat fades of the Carabineros coming to evict the Mapuche communities from their ancestral lands.


The Liempi Colipi re-occupation continues as does state repression. In a statement sent to us, Werken Roberto Cheuquepan said, “Yesterday [29 April 2020] we, the Liempi Colipi community, were evicted by Carabineros Special Forces of the municipality of Pailahueque, following an eviction order on behalf of Ms. María Luisa Lyon, current “legal” landowner of the Fundo Santa Filomena that the community is in the process of regaining.”


The Rio Cautín flows in La Araucanía Region, where most of the Mapuche communities are located. As another Mapuche Lonko explained, “first they stole our land, now they want to steal our rivers.” Hydroelectric projects are planned on the river. It is one of the reasons for the re-occupation by the Liempi Colipi and Quilape López communities.


Temuco – Alberto Curamil, a Mapuche Lonko (leader) was arrested on trumped up charges in April 2018, after he successfully helped stopped two hydro-electric dams. In 2019 he was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. As the UN Climate Conference in Madrid began in November 2019, Lonko Curamil’s trial was taking place. But the good news is…


Mapuche Lonko Alberto Curamil in court in Temuco. he headband he is wearing is the Mapuche spiritual flag.


13 December 2019 – The Court of Temuco acquitted Lonko Alberto Curamíl and Werken Álvaro Millalén of all charges, allowing the Goldman Environmental Prize winner to walk out a free man after 18 months behind bars awaiting trial.

His daughter Belén Curamil said, “I am very happy because we knew they were innocent, both the Lonko Alberto Curamil and the werken Álvaro Millalén. If they were in prison for so long, it is because they raised their voices and fought for our territory, for the freedom of our Mapu, the freedom of our rivers and the freedom of the people and the Mapuche people.”  Belén Curamil accepted the Goldman Prize on behalf of her father, while he was imprisoned awaiting trial.


Quick stop overnight in Temuco before going back to Santiago – right after the photo below was taken, as the documentary team was sitting in an artisanal brewery, a water cannon went by spraying the bar with its toxic water. Immediately the music was turned up loud to the sounds of Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, REM and The Clash as our team experienced the joy and rage of the uprising from a different point of view. Eventually we ran back to our hostal across the street through tear gas.


Tear gas wafts in the street. Our hostel is in the background.


How Chile Dealt with International Human Rights Day

10 December 2019 (Santiago) – On the international day of human rights, protesters in Chile held a march commemorating the then 350+ eyes lost to the violence of the Carabineros during the days of the Chile uprising. When the march arrived at the Plaza de la Dignidad, it was joined by many more protesters from across the city.


Depicting blood and eyeballs in the hands of the government


The “eyes” go to Plaza de la Dignidad and the statue of Manuel Baquedano


Man injured by the police close to Plaza de la Dignidad in Santiago, Chile during International Humans Rights Day.


Water cannons chase crowd. A caustic liquid was mixed with the water to irritate the skin and lungs. Water cannons were strategically used to target street medics and the Red Cross.


Tear gas canister fired in air before it lands in the streets. A canister like this struck a 15 year young woman in the demonstration and sent her to the hospital for surgery.


Tear gas explodes on the streets. Note the spray of a water cannon upper to mid right.


Standoff between water cannons, police and protesters. Note the green laser lights targeting the cannon and police to disrupt their vision. Water cannons were strategically used to target street medics and the Red Cross.


Women have a leading role in the protests, including the Red Masks in Resistance movement.


Santiago (2019) – We Are The Ones Who Will Awaken The Dawn. Other scenes of the uprising


Protesters with fire on the street as a barricade


Man and woman (center) receive immediate first aid after being overtaken by tear gas


Tear gas canisters fired in the crowd are picked up and extinguished in a solution, as seen in the above bottle


Young protesters running down the avenue with the freshly painted art canvas of the water cannon in the background


Friday the 13th of December 2019 (Santiago) – Thousands of people took to the streets lengthening the almost daily protest to almost two months. Plaza de la Dignidad was filled and overflowing down side streets in what was reportedly one of the biggest turnouts to date in the mobilization.


Protesters tear up the sidewalk to make projectiles for later street fight with the Carabineros


Protesters tear up the street and sidewalk to make projectiles for later street fight with the Carabineros


05 December 2019 (Santiago) – Day 50 of the People’s Uprising – The afternoon started as a march. It progressed into what seemed like a street party with street fighting on the side…


A jubilant crowd as red flares, fires and lasers light up Plaza de la Dignidad, also known as Plaza Italia.


The videos

Mapuche Struggle for the Land video 27 November 2020 – Curacautin, Araucanía region – Footage by Anne Petermann:


Statement from Chile to the UN Climate Conference in Madrid: No “Natural Climate Solutions”! Footage by Anne Petermann:


International Human Rights Day Chilean National Police Attack Red Crossvideo, 10 December 2019 – Santiago – Footage by Gary Hughes:


Santiago Climate March 06 December 2019 video 6 December 2019 – Santiago – Footage by Anne Petermann:


Women’s March video 25 November 2019 – Temuco – Footage by Anne Petermann with photos by Orin Langelle:


Incinerator protest by Mapuche video 25 Nov 2019 – Temuco – Footage by Anne Petermann:


Mapuche leader Alberto Curamil is freed! His lawyer Rodrigo Román speaks about the Lonko’s case video – Footage by Anne Petermann:



The Virtual Exhibit Opening Video from 30 July 2020




The documentary team

Gary Hughes – Biofuelwatch

Alejandra Parra – RADA









Orin Langelle – GJEP     photo: Anne Petermann/GJEP

Anne Petermann- GJEP










Thanks to:

KPFK Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles – especially the Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod – other Pacifica Stations – Brenda Norrel from Censored News – New Visions Foundation – OLCA, the Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts – Environmental Rights Action Network, RADABiofuelwatchGlobal Justice Ecology Project – Lucio Cuenca – Verónica González – Felipe Grez – Cuarto Piso – Steve Taylor – Theresa Church – And very special thanks to the Mapuche and all the people of Chile uprising for justice, dignity and respect


Un violador en tu camino! (The rapist in your path)

is emblematic of the uprising in Chile. Powerfully directed anger, spirit, strength, art and love:

Lyrics – Organized by a Chilean feminist collective, LAS TESIS, the performance was titled !Un violador en tu camino! (The rapist in your path). The song and accompanying dance takes on the patriarchy as the cause both of violence against women and the victim shaming that often comes after. Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía, they sang (and the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed). Please watch LASTESIS video. The words in Spanish and English are below the video.

Video Note: The women wearing blindfolds relates to the fact that over 400 people have suffered by being intentionally shot in the head with rubber coated pellets by the Carabineros de Chile (Chilean National Police – the same but derogatory street word is Pacos).


!Un violador en tu camino!

[Keep arms loose at your side, march in place to the beat for the first eight verses] El patriarcado es un juez

Que nos juzga por nacer
Y nuestro castigo
Es la violencia que no ves.

El patriarcado es un juez,
Que nos juzga por nacer
Y nuestro castigo
Es la violencia que ya ves.

Es feminicidio

[Place hands behind the head, squat up and down]

Impunidad para el asesino

[Repeat movement above]

Es la desaparición

[Repeat movement above]

Es la violación

[Repeat movement above]

[Run in place, but without lifting feet from the ground; move forearms up and down in sync with the feet]

Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía
Y la culpa no era mía, ni dónde estaba , ni cómo vestía

El violador eras tú
[Extend right arm straight out in front of you, pointing]
El violador eres tú

[Repeat movement above]

Son los pacos
[Point left]
Los jueces
[Point right]
El estado
[Raise arms, pointing in circle around the head]
El presidente

[Cross forearms above the head]

[Move forearms up and down rhythmically, fist closed]
El estado opresor es un macho violador
El estado opresor es un macho violador

El violador eras tú

[Extend left arm straight out in front of you, pointing]

El violador eres tú

[Repeat movement above]

[Cup hands around mouth to amplify shouting]

Duerme tranquila niña inocente,
sin preocuparte del bandolero,
que por tus sueños dulce
y sonriente vela tu amante carabinero.

El violador eres tú

[Extend right arm straight our in front of you, pointing]

El violador eres tú
[repeat movement above]
El violador eres tú
[repeat movement above]
El violador eres tú

[repeat movement above]

A rapist in your path! (English translation)

The patriarchy is a judge
that judges us for being born
and our punishment
is the violence you don’t see.

The patriarchy is a judge
that judges us for being born
and our punishment
is the violence that have seen.

It’s femicide.
Impunity for the killer.
It’s disappearance.
It’s rape.

And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed
And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed
And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed
And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed

The rapist is you.
The rapist is you.

It’s the cops,
The judges,
The state,
The president.

The oppressive state is a rapist.
The oppressive state is a rapist.

The rapist is you
The rapist is you

“Sleep calmly, innocent girl
Without worrying about the bandit,
Over your dreams smiling and sweet,
watches your loving cop.”

The rapist is you
The rapist is you
The rapist is you
The rapist is you