Saturday, December 04, 2010

"Those Are Our Giant Heads" Says Chile

Chile police attack Easter Islanders

"Police opened fire with pellet guns, injuring at least 25 demonstrators protesting at their homes being illegally taken generations ago.

The confrontation began early Friday morning when officers moved in to evict 10 Rapa Nui natives from the buildings they had been residing in since September.

When the protesters refused to leave, others gathered at the scene and officers opened fire with pellet guns and tear gas, the state-funded BBC reported.

The Rapa Nui said dozens were hurt and denied seeing any officers injured. Police officials, however, reported that 17 officers and eight civilians were injured in the clashes.

The native islanders also claimed that several people had been shot at from close range.

A number of people have been arrested and at least three were air-lifted to mainland Chile for medical treatment, the Associated Press reported.

"They injured at least 23 of our brothers and sisters, three of them seriously," Edi Tuki, a relative of one of those injured, told the Efe News Agency.

"One was shot in the eye with a buckshot pellet from just a meter away."


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