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Protesters want ancestral land back

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Feb. 7, 2011) - A lawyer representing Rapa Nui’s Hito clan says authorities have ignored the rule of law by evicting remaining clan members from a hotel in Hangaroa.

[PIR editor’s note: The remaining clan leaders were occupying a hotel because they want Chile to return their ancestral lands.]

Rodrigo Gomez says about 50 armed Chilean police used unnecessary force early on Sunday morning to remove the two men and two women.

Mr. Gomez says his colleague was roughed up trying to speak to his clients.

He says the evictions come shortly before court proceedings due to take place on Rapa Nui to try to clear up ownership rights to the land.

"The actions taken here in Easter Island are very abnormal. (This) Tuesday there’s an audience to discuss this, in just 48 hours. They don’t wait for that. They just took action."

Mr. Gomez says a clan leader, Marisol Hito, was arrested but later released.

According to Chilean media reports, the eviction was ordered by Rapa Nui’s public prosecutor so police could complete their investigations before Tuesday’s court proceedings.

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