In Nouméa, at the roadblocks of loyalist citizens, “we are afraid”

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On a roadblock erected by residents of the Vallée-des-Colons district, in Nouméa, May 28, 2024. DELPHINE MAYEUR FOR “THE WORLD”

They installed ” a fire “ this Tuesday, May 28, a brazier placed on the street, because the New Caledonian nights are getting cool. Since May 15, just after the outbreak of the insurrection in Nouméa, these neighbors from Vallée-des-Colons, in the southern districts, have taken turns night and day on a small barricade. In this area where small properties and social housing coexist, the large nearby Do-Kamo vocational high school, a Protestant establishment which educates many young Kanaks, has held up. Like the Géant supermarket, spared.

“At the beginning, the dam was just filtering. But we saw a lot of hooded people passing in cars with the Kanak flag and we blocked it because there is real fear here”says Yohann, a local public official (he did not wish to give his name, like the people mentioned by their first name). “The objective of the others was to burn the Giant”assures Yves, a retiree, for whom “the targets were the economy and the health sector”. His cardiologist, he illustrates, “has lost everything even though 90% of his patients are Melanesians, and he is going to Tahiti”.

Yves admits: ” We are scared. » He attempts irony: “It’s funny to find ourselves in the situation in South Africa, with this very strong anti-White racism”, who has been speaking, according to him, for two weeks. The retiree even fears that the current New Caledonian insurrection marks the beginnings of a possible “major operation, depending on what President Macron does now, with other fronts that could open in Tahiti, Paris, Marseille or elsewhere” – a fantasized vision of a French society threatened by civil and ethnic war, far from metropolitan reality.

“Deterrent effect”

Alain, a former employee of Société Le Nickel, a pillar of the New Caledonian economy, a mining company whose furnaces now threaten to shut down, fears collapse. “If the ovens stop, thousands of people will suddenly lose their jobs and hotheads will take action. We have the impression that Tein [Christian Tein, le chef de la cellule de coordination des actions de terrain (CCAT) indépendantiste] seeks to destroy everything. » A neighbor who arrives on the scene after work at the end of the afternoon indicates that “4,700 employees have already lost their jobs” in this territory of 270,000 inhabitants.

When the violent explosion on the night of May 13 occurred in the urban area of ​​Nouméa, Harold Martin, a loyalist figure, called on his supporters to react quickly. “I then invite everyone to make roadblocks, barricades to protect themselveshe assumes. There was also a spontaneous movement of people. They were afraid when, on the second night, they saw that the commercial area of ​​Ducos and the large Normandy dock where half of New Caledonia’s medicines are stored. »

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