Sunday, December 05, 2010

Evictions continue on Easter Island

A military plane carrying riot police reinforcements have landed on Easter Island, and Chile's Interior Minister said they will continue evicting Rapa Nui islanders who have been squatting in government buildings built on their ancestral properties.

Dozens of people were wounded by police buckshot and batons after violently resisting the first such eviction on Friday on the usually tranquil South Pacific island, where as many as 50,000 tourists come each year to see the Moai - huge stone heads carved by the Rapa Nui's ancestors.

Documentary filmmaker Santi Hitorangi, who dug 14 pellets from his backside after police shot him while he videotaped the clash, said the atmosphere remained tense on Saturday, with families squatting in a dozen other properties refusing to back down despite the police pressure.

"What happened yesterday is their way of trying to stop any attempt of the Rapa Nui people to reassert their right to the land," Mr Hitorangi said. "All we're asking for is title to the land. It's a rightful claim. We are not asking the government for anything else."

Read more here and here.

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