24 Aug 2010

Tension remains on Easter Island following occupation

9:54 am on 24 August 2010

An academic specialising in indigenous affairs on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, says the situation on the island remains tense following a recent occupation of government buildings.

A group of Rapa Nui, which wants independence from Chile, was removed from the occupation last week by Chilean marines and paramilitary police.

The Hawaii-based anthropologist and political scientist, Forrest Young, lived for a year and a half with many of the islanders who staged the occupation.

He says they felt suppressed by Chile long before the deployment of more troops last week.

"Police patrol the areas, taunting Rapa Nui that are known to not agree with their policies, on horseback, in their cars, in their full military regalia, armed where Rapa Nui are not. I have seen Chileans abusive of Rapa Nui when I was there. It would not surprise me at all if Chilean military acted violently towards Rapa Nui."

Forrest Young.