Easter Island closed down by Rapa Nui Parliament

By Marcus Edensky

See all posts on the 2015 roadblock conflict.

A local minority group called Rapa Nui Parliament, whose main objective is to achieve Easter Island independency from Chile, has today taken control of Easter Island.

Easter Island map with closed off areas marked.
Easter Island map with closed off areas marked.

Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, was annexed to Chile in 1888, when the island was weak and demoralized because of slavery. Within the latest two decades, the island’s population had been decimated from at least 3000 to only a bit more than a hundred people. Today, the Rapa Nui population is back at what it was before the slavery.

Rapa Nui is known for it's 1000 gigantic moai statues, scattered all over the island.
Rapa Nui is known for it’s 1000 gigantic moai statues, scattered all over the island.

Leviante Araki, head of Rapa Nui Parliament, explains the situation:
– In the year 1888, the deal was for Chile to be in charge of the island for six years, under the lead of a Chilean called Enrique Merlet. Chile never left. We have had many years of lies. Today we take back our land.

Leviante Araki (center) with other members of Rapa Nui Parliament.

Araki says that they will hold their positions until the control of the island goes back to the hands of the Rapa Nui people.

– Two hours ago I had a call from the interior ministry of the Chilean government. They asked us to remove the road blocks. I told them that we wouldn’t.

Cut tree used as road block.


43% of the Rapa Nui surface is declared national park by the Chilean goverment, meaning that these areas are protected for their valuable archaeology. These areas are looked over by park rangers from national park administration CONAF. The members of the Rapa Nui Parliament simply asked these park rangers to leave their posts this morning, and they did. No violence has been used up until now, and those who block the roads use words only.

Permission for passing road blocks by Rapa Nui Parlament president to the author.
Permission for passing road blocks by Rapa Nui Parliament president to the author.

Limiting Chilean immigration to the island is a common topic in local Easter Island politics. The latest months, new legal proposals have been processed on governmental level. These proposals were yesterday rejected. It would be safe to say that these events are reactions to this rejection.

Similar events happened in 2010, when Rapa Nui people tried taking back land they claimed the Chilean state had taken from them. Camp grounds were set up at different institutions of Chilean representation. Those participating were not exclusively members of the Rapa Nui Parliament. After several weeks, an airplane of chilean riot policemen arrived and forced people away from the governmental areas with rubber bullet shotguns.

By Marcus Edensky

Marcus Edensky

Marcus is owner of local Rapa Nui travel agency Easter Island Travel. He is one of the few foreigners that has learnt to speak Rapa Nui fluently. He is founder of local Easter Island newspaper Tāpura Re'o - the only newspaper written entirely in Rapa Nui language.

11 thoughts on “Easter Island closed down by Rapa Nui Parliament

  1. Sres del parlamento.seria mucho mejor y realmente necesario buenos drs y espeialistas para tender tan lino y moderno hopital ; que los cupos en lan sean mas y reales que los montos destinaos a rapanui sean mejores y mejor utilisados .. en fin hay muchos puntos realmente necesarios. Es mi humilde opinion

  2. They owe everything they had from the Western Civilization. Even their clothing…”independence” is a pretty bad joke from these losers that want the State to give them everything.

    1. Shut up you racist peace of shit. Wonder how long it takes until the “civilized” western master race takes it back by violent force, just like they used to do.

  3. Hola,

    I see, so what about all the tourists currently on the island? Are they allowed to see national park?



  4. I have sympathy for the Rapa Nui concerns but I am curious as to why they would fell a tree to make a road block , it is my understanding that trees are in short supply on Easter Island and that seems like a waste of a valuable resource. You can block a road without destroying a tree.

  5. This is horrible. While Araki and his people drinking and partying at the blocking point, all tourists have been denied access to the national park. People from all over the world come to see the beauty of the island , instead they see road blocks and drunk, rude people. Is this even legal in chile? How come the police are not doing anything?


    Rapa Nui, 30 de Marzo de 2015

    Respecto a la situación actual en Isla de Pascua, sobre la toma ilegal del parque nacional Rapa Nui, liderada por la agrupación de nombre “Parlamento Rapa Nui”, creemos necesario señalar:
    Que nuestra empresa Mahinatur, propiedad de la familia Hucke, se declara completamente en contra de la situación que se vive en estos momentos en Isla de Pascua, que la agrupación “Parlamento Rapa Nui” no es representativa de toda la etnia y que es liderada por personas locales que mantienen un pensamiento ambiguo y discriminador. Queremos dejar en claro que nadie de los que lidera este movimiento tomo la opinión de todo el pueblo Rapa Nui para llevar a cabo tan nefastas acciones como prohibir el transito libre de turistas e incluso de locales por las calles y sitios arqueológicos de la Isla. Somos una empresa que da trabajo a más de 50 personas de las cuales el 80% son locales Rapa Nui o ligados a este lugar por estar casados o tener hijos que pertenecen a la etnia, por lo cual creemos que es una irresponsabilidad por parte de un grupo minoritario, bloquear no tan solo el parque y la encomia local, sino también la libertad de trabajar y de llevar el sustento a casa.
    Somos tajantes en declarar que creemos absolutamente necesaria una ley de migración que regule la llegada masiva y al estancia permanente de cualquier persona que llega a Rapa Nui, pero también debemos enfatizar que esta no es la forma de lograr un acuerdo y un bienestar para la isla, sino todo lo contrario, esto nos desprestigia, nos hace ver como un pueblo desorganizado, violento y con nula capacidad de comprensión de cuán grande es el daño que le estamos haciendo a la isla y a todos los Rapa Nui. Por nuestra parte no queremos que nuestros hijos vean que los objetivos se consiguen de una manera violeta, pasando a llevar los derechos del que está a mi lado o queriendo imponer beneficios personales por sobre los de nuestra sociedad.
    Sabemos que la mayoría de la gente que vive en Isla de Pascua están en desacuerdo con lo que esta sucediendo, por lo cual los invitamos a manifestarse y si es necesario organizarse para mostrarle a Chile y al mundo que lo que está pasando es producto de la ignorancia de algunos y no de todos los Rapa Nui.


  7. Good on the indigenous peoples for taking back their island; abused and taken advantage of by Europeans and their colonial descendants for far too long. Above me, authors of the typical westerner arguments of ‘oh but what of the tourism?’ and ‘we gave them all they take for granted today’ speak out of touch of their own history and culture, as I know for fact that had they been through the same enslavement, conversion and whitewashing of native culture, you’d be pissed too, and not care for materialistic farces like money from tourism or the introduction of western influence. Take back your culture!

  8. I’m more than a little horrified at some of these messages –
    Lisa – “People from all over the world come to see the beauty of the island , instead they see road blocks and drunk, rude people. Is this even legal in chile? How come the police are not doing anything?”
    as in what she want is a Rapa Nui theme park, the indigenous population are already history to her? Terrifying.
    Andrés says: “They owe everything they had from the Western Civilization. Even their clothing…”independence” is a pretty bad joke from these losers that want the State to give them everything.”
    Wrong on so many levels… I think what they want is the state to give them nothing, and go, despite the reparations for the broken promises being worth a tidy sum.
    Self determination is a human right. I am an English mixed race woman, descended of slaves and their owners. It gives me physical pain to see a form of rule my family became free of a couple of generations ago still happening.

    1. You are absolutely right Kathy. Disgusting, racist, patronizing comments. I hope those people never get to travel to the island, I can imagine how this sort of people treat the indigenous people.

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