New Zealand television reports that there are calls for calm on Easter Island after Chilean security forces opened fire on Indigenous land protesters.
Chilean forces had gone to a property on the Polynesian island to evict 10 people who had been occupying the house since ousting the government official from it in September.
They opened fire after being surrounded by rock-throwing protesters.
The protesters, who are the descendants of the original Polynesian inhabitants of the island, claim 13 properties on the island were illegally taken from their families decades ago and are demanding their return. Last month, a Court of Appeal ruled they had a legitimate claim to ancestral ownership but the island tribunal decided to issue eviction notices anyway.
The Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) has intervened, urging all parties to seek a peaceful outcome. It says it is concerned for the Indigenous people of the island. “We are concerned about the outcome because we have not received any more news. I think there is a media clampdown on Rapanui as of now,” PCC spokesperson Fe’iloakitau Tevi said.
Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is famous for the more than 800 moai or statues carved by the original Polynesian inhabitants.