8 Dec 2010

Chile president defends Rapa Nui evictions

1:19 pm on 8 December 2010

The president of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, has defended last week's eviction of Rapa Nui on Easter Island, saying it was the state's duty to uphold the law.

Dozens of civilians and police were injured in the clashes which erupted after special forces removed indigenous groups from buildings which they claimed to be on ancestral land.

Mr Pinera told foreign reporters in Santiago that the action against the occupiers was to maintain public order.

He says he hopes the land claims can be settled in peace and harmony and through dialogue.