7 Dec 2010

Pacific churches concerned over Rapa Nui violence

4:01 pm on 7 December 2010

The Pacific Conference of Churches has added its voice to concern about escalating violence on Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.

This follows Friday's clashes between indigenous Rapa Nui clans and special forces from Chile in an ongoing dispute over the clans' ancestral land claims.

Dozens were injured when police used rubber bullets and tear gas after an early morning attempt to evict them from a building they'd been occupying.

The Suva-based Pacific Conference of Churches is urging all parties to seek a peaceful outcome.

Earlier this year a Rapa Nui representative said the Rapa Nui people should turn their back on Chile to build stronger ties with Pacific nations.

Reports from Santiago say Chile's Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter has warned clans will be evicted if no agreement's reached.