The people of the Chagos Archipelago were forcibly removed from their homeland in the Indian Ocean’s Chagos Archipelago in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the US and British governments created a military base on the people’s largest island, Diego Garcia. Since their expulsion, the people, known as Chagossians, have struggled to return to their homeland and win proper compensation. Because US and UK law bar most suits challenging military and foreign policy and because the Chagossians are a people of around five thousand taking on two world powers, they have generally avoided protesting the base responsible for their exile. On the one hand, this peculiar situation has constrained the people’s movement by impeding coalition building and causing tensions with some antibase activists. On the other hand, while theirs is explicitly not an antibase struggle, it shares much in common with other antibase struggles in challenging the loss of sovereignty over occupied land, in demanding fundamental democratic rights, and in opposing unchecked government power and the archaic vestiges of colonialism on which all extraterritorial bases rely.
David Vine; What If You Can’t Protest the Base? The Chagossian Exile, the Struggle for Democracy, and the Military Base on Diego Garcia. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2012; 111 (4): 847–856. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1724228
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