17 Jan 2011

Continued tension over Rapa Nui hotel occupation

7:16 am on 17 January 2011

There is continued tension on Easter Island between the clan occupying the Hanga Roa hotel and Chilean security forces.

A court case due to deal with the seizure of the hotel was to go ahead last week but has been deferred until next month, with security forces being placed around the hotel complex, which the Hito clan claims was built on ancestral land taken from them.

There has been a further weekend march by dozens of Rapa Nui calling for an end to the police violence.

Susan Hito, who is the wife of a US-based Rapa Nui activist, says the clampdown now involves people being detained for taking pictures of the scene.

"The police have surrounded the Hanga Roa Hotel, they are not letting any members of the Hito family in or out of the hotel, they're not letting food in."

The Chilean authorities have justified their secuirty operations, saying they are to maintain public order.