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Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:38 PM

Easter Island issues Chile with independence threat

Easter Island issues Chile with independence threat

Remote Pacific island sees growing influx of Chileans at the expense of local culture

Christine Legrand
Guardian Weekly, Tuesday 15 January 2013 08.59 EST

Easter Island, a Pacific paradise only 164 sq km in size, has seen demonstrations in recent months. The indigenous Rapa Nui the Polynesian name for the island and people assert that Chile has robbed them of their ancestral lands. They are threatening to declare independence and lodge a complaint against the government at the international court of justice in The Hague.

The island, discovered by a Dutch ship on Easter Day 1722, and annexed by Chile in 1888, is about 4,000km from Santiago, or five hours' flight. In addition to recovering their land, the Rapa Nui 1,500 people out of a total population of 5,000 want to restrict mass tourism, control the growing influx of mainland Chileans, and raise money to invest in healthcare, education and trade. They have made repeated appeals to the international community, demanding that Chile upholds human rights.

On two occasions in December 2010 the government sent military police to dislodge demonstrators occupying a public building, due to be converted into a luxury hotel by Chilean and American investors. The security forces also evacuated the main square of Hanga Roa, the only town on the island, causing dozens of injuries and numerous arrests.

In August 2009 the Rapa Nui blocked the island's only airport for two days, demanding restrictions on the length of time tourists may stay.


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Reply Easter Island issues Chile with independence threat (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 OP
naaman fletcher Jan 2013 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:12 PM

1. Let's hope they are successful,


or at least get a better relationship with Chile out of it.

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