10 Jan 2013

Amid tension with Chile, Rapa Nui eyes Tahiti ties

2:15 pm on 10 January 2013

Reports from Rapa Nui say the island has threatened to secede from Chile and join French Polynesia.

The French newspaper Le Monde says the threat has been made by the president of the Rapa Nui parliament, Leviante Araki.

This comes amid ongoing tension between the indigenous Polynesian people and the leadership in Santiago over land and migration issues.

In recent years, there have been protests against development plans, prompting Chile to send riot squads to enforce investment deals.

There have also been objections to the arrivals of Chileans who now vastly outnumber the indigenous Rapa Nui.

Chile annexed Rapa Nui in 1888 - eight years after France annexed Tahiti and its islands.