On December 3, 2010 armed Chilean troops equipped with riot gear opened fire on unarmed Rapanui civilians refusing to be evicted from ancestral lands. The police started shooting pellet guns and tear gassing at the Rapanui people who for months now have been reoccupying their lands.
Dozens of people were shot at and wounded, including Leviante Araki, the president of the Rapanui Parliament. The unarmed Rapanui people defended themselves by throwing rocks. Government officials have stated that land seizures are a threat to law and order and will not be tolerated.
Around 36 clans make up the Rapa Nui Nation living on “Easter Island.” The Island was annexed by Chile in 1888. Currently Chilean armed forces occupy the Island,and have evicted Rapa Nui clan members. Several people say they have been subject to intimidation and unwarranted criminal persecution by the Chilean authorities.
Fed up with the government's policies, several clan members since the summer began taking matters into their own hands, seizing properties they said were stolen from their families decades ago. After months of relatively peaceful reoccupation of their lands by the Rapanui people, the Chilean government attacked with force and has refused to hold consultations on land titles.
The Rapanui are asking the government for title to their land. About 2,200 of the island's 5,000 residents are Rapa Nui and feel threatened by the ever increasing tourism industry and plans for development of the island.
Source: Save Rapanui
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