France sends additional troops to New Caledonia, ending emergency

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

  • State of emergency in New Caledonia ends after two weeks
  • 480 additional officers deployed amid unrest over election changes
  • Critics say proposed changes reduce Indigenous Kanak voting power

The state of emergency in the Pacific island territory of New Caledonia will be abolished on Tuesday morning. Two weeks of violent unrest followed French intentions to modify the regulations for provincial elections.

The Elysee Palace announced on Sunday evening that the state of emergency implemented on May 16 will conclude at 8 p.m. on Monday in Paris (18:00 GMT and 5 a.m. on Tuesday in Noumea). Additionally, the palace announced that approximately 480 additional law enforcement officers would be deployed to the region to supplement the 3,000 security personnel currently on the ground.

As France’s parliament prepared to debate constitutional changes that would enable residents of the territory for a minimum of ten years to vote in provincial elections, violence erupted in New Caledonia, where approximately 40% of the population are Indigenous Kanaks.

Critics contended that the amendment would diminish the voting power of Kanaks and undermine the Noumea Accord, one of two significant political agreements that were reached in the aftermath of the most recent significant outbreak of violence in the 1980s.

In the most recent civil unrest, at least seven individuals have been killed, and barricades have been erected along main roads. Commercial sites have been looted and set on fire.

On Friday night, the seventh victim was fatally shot by police shortly after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the islands to attempt to alleviate the situation. Macron subsequently promised that the amendment would be retracted.

According to the statement, Macron’s decision not to renew the state of emergency demonstrated Paris’s intention to initiate the de-escalation process and reestablish the conditions for dialogue.

The FLNKS (Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front), the primary pro-independence political coalition, released a communique on Saturday. The communique stated that the primary objective was to alleviate tensions and that the only viable solution was “political and non-repressive.

The French statement stated that lifting the state of emergency was intended to facilitate the meeting of FLNKS and that removing the roadblocks was also a “necessary condition for the opening of concrete and serious negotiations.”

The status of a nocturnal curfew imposed by local authorities in New Caledonia was not disclosed.

The operator announced on Monday that the international airport will remain closed to commercial traffic until at least June 2. The police are currently experiencing difficulty maintaining control over specific districts of the capital, Noumea.

Since the 1800s, Paris has been the governing authority of New Caledonia. However, many Kanaks resent France’s authority over their islands and desire greater autonomy or independence.

“Invest in your future with Webull UK – get started with free shares.”

In 2018, 2020, and 2021, the Noumea Accord stipulated that three referendums on independence would be conducted, all of which resulted in a vote to remain in France. Kanak groups boycotted the most recent referendum after Paris rejected their requests for a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have requested a new referendum that is led by the international community.

The 1998 accord also limited voters’ eligibility to participate in provincial elections in the territory, which is situated approximately 17,000km (10,600 miles) east of mainland France and east of Australia.

By extending the vote to Europeans who arrived in New Caledonia after 1998, France aims to grant voting rights to thousands more non-Indigenous individuals.

Macron assured that the planned modifications would not be “forced through” during his brief visit to New Caledonia.

Read More

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content