Monday, December 6, 2010
Radio New Zealand International reports that the Chilean government has sent police reinforcements from the mainland to Easter Island following clashes over land disputes with indigenous Rapa Nui.
Dozens of people, including policemen, have reportedly been injured. According to the Radio New Zealand report, special police faced resistance when they started removing Rapa Nui groups from buildings (including a hotel) that they have been occupying for months. The Rapa Nui laid claimed the buildings as ancestral land.
The government of Chile believes that the seizures are illegal. Chile's Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter has reportedly flown to Easter Island to oversee further evictions of Rapa Nui. He reportedly told the Chilean newspaper, La Tercera, that there is a limit to these things and it was reached when illegal takeovers caused damage to the island.
Hat tip to the East-West Center and Radio New Zealand International.