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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.