The Pacific island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, made headlines in December 2010 when indigenous "squatters" were forcefully evicted from a hotel which they had been occupying in protest against the increasing influx of both immigrants and tourists. As Ulrich Delius reports, the island has reached its limitations in terms of carrying capacity, to the detriment of the native population. Tourism has brought in a lot of Chilean settlers and seasonal workers, in addition to the large number of tourists. In August 2009, indigenous activists blocked the airport runway in protest.
The Chilean government promised to take measure to control immigration. However, the respective bill has not been passed in parliament yet. The indigenous inhabitants are also concerned about their land rights, which are increasingly being undermined. Human rights organisations, indigenous peoples' representatives and members of the Chilean opposition strongly criticized the violent action by the security forces. Many indigenous local people have lost trust in the government, with some of the activists even demanding independence from Chile. As Chile will be trying to prevent this, more conflicts between the people of Rapa Nui and the authorities are to be expected.
(202 words, 16 lines, March 2011, TW 62)