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New Caledonia. The indigenous people oppose France's plans. There are victims of the riots

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France sent extra police squadrons on Tuesday to quell unrest in New Caledonia in the Pacific. Three people died during the protests. French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal invited supporters and opponents of the independence of this French-dependent country to Paris for talks on its future status.

During the night, rioters burned cars and dozens of shops. There were clashes with the police and barricades were set up. In the morning, local authorities announced that three people died during the riots – these were the Kanaks, indigenous people.

The changes against which protests are ongoing and which Paris is working on will enable French people who have lived in New Caledonia for at least 10 years to participate in elections local. This, according to local leaders, will weaken the voices of indigenous people, but authorities believe that these changes are needed to make elections democratic.

“The streets were burning, there were riots, it was terrifying,” Mike Lightfoot, a tourist from New Zealand, told TVNZ.

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The effects of riots in New CaledoniaReuters

France wants changes to New Caledonia's electoral law

Local broadcaster NC La 1ere reported that violence broke out on the island on Tuesday evening despite the curfew. A cloud of black smoke enveloped the capital when a local sports facility was set on fire. There were also reports of riots at the local prison.

Prime Minister France Gabriel Attal invited supporters and opponents of New Caledonia's independence to Paris for talks on its future status. – Only through talks can we find a solution. We want to find a general political agreement with supporters and opponents of independence, he added.

At a rally in Paris, protesters said the law should be withdrawn. “If there is violence in New Caledonia today, it is a reaction to the violence we have experienced since colonization,” Daniel Wea, 43, the leader of the Kanakó, an indigenous people of New Caledonia, told Reuters.

“We are here to show that we will fight until we get what we want: independence,” said Wendy Gowe, 24, whose grandparents died in the 1980s when violence broke out on the island.

The dispute over New Caledonia

The 1998 Noumea Agreement helped end a decade of conflict, paving the way for gradual autonomy and limiting voting to indigenous Kanaks as well as people who arrived in New Caledonia before 1998.

The agreement allowed for three referenda to be held to determine the country's future. Independence was rejected in all three, but this did not end the debate about the status of the island and the role of France.

Nickel

The French government is negotiating a rescue package for New Caledonia's loss-making nickel sector, including a commitment to supply the European battery supply chain, but talks have stalled due to current political tensions.

As tensions rise, the island's nickel mining company, Prony Resources, said it had activated a crisis unit to “maintain industrial facilities and prevent any damage.”

New Caledonia is a French overseas territory with the status of a special community in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, in Melanesia. It lies approximately 1,400 kilometers east of Australia and 1500 northwest of New Zealand.

Author:asty, ads/kab

Main photo source: Reuters



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