9 Dec 2010

Bi-partisan call from Chile parliament to probe Rapa Nui confrontation

1:19 pm on 9 December 2010

A senator in the Chilean parliament says he's leading a bi-partisan call for an investigation into what he describes as police brutality on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, almost a week ago.

An ongoing land dispute between indigenous people and the Chilean government erupted into violence last Friday when special forces began evicting members of the local community from premises they say were built on land taken from them in the 19th century.

Dozens of people were injured when the authorities used rubber bullets on the Rapa Nui occupiers.

Juan Pablo Letelier of the Socialist Party says he and other members of parliament want to know who ordered the use of force disproportionate to the protest action that had been taking place.

"There's been blatant lies being told by the police authorities saying that the community or the family that was ousted from the property had molotov bombs and what not, things which are absolute lies. Now these lies have been used to try to perhaps cover up their abusive use of violence and try to build up an alibi to justify what is unjustifiable."

A senator in the Chilean parliament, Juan Pablo Letelier.