Chile calls on British museum to return Moai statue from Easter Island

A group of Chileans have waged a campaign against the British Museum to demand the return of a Moai statue that was removed from the Easter Isa.

It all started after an influencer asked his followers to spam all of the museum’s social media posts.

In this way, the accounts filled with messages saying “Give the Moai back” and the museum directors were forced to disable the comments.

These people argue that two Moai statues were brought from this Chilean area in 1868.

The BBC said the statue, along with another smaller moai, was “gifted” to Queen Victoria in 1869 by the captain of HMS Topaze, Commodore Richard Powell.

However, the Queen decided to donate the two statues to the British Museum and they have been in her possession ever since.

The Moai statues were removed from this Chilean area in 1868

The Moai statues were removed from this Chilean area in 1868. Photo: EFE

This is not the first time that Chileans have called for the return of the Hoa Hakananai’a (Stolen Friend) statue to Easter Island.

But the campaign led by Chilean influencer Mike Milfort has gained strength and thousands of people have joined together on social media to demand their return.

The initiative was also supported by Chilean President Gabriel Boric and since then thousands of messages have appeared on the networks.

The museum asks for dialogue

Following this flood of messages, the British Museum responded by saying that it had decided to disable comments on social networks.

In addition, he said that they were ready to discuss the issue, but with respect and without it posing any risk to the young people making the claims.

“We welcome the debate, but it must be balanced with the need to take into account safeguarding considerations, particularly when it comes to young people,” a spokesman said.

However, the museum stressed that it is subject to 1963 legislation that prohibits it from removing objects from its collection.

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Authorities said they maintain a good relationship with members of the Easter Island community.

Located about 3,700 kilometers off the Pacific coast of Chile, the island of Rapa Nui is best known for its “Moai” statues, which date to between 1,400 and 1,640 AD.

Although many of them are still there today, some have been transferred to museums around the world, such as “Hoa Hakananai,” which is part of the British Museum Collection.

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