“Unprecedented” violence in New Caledonia, call for calm from

“Unprecedented” violence in New Caledonia, call for calm from
“Unprecedented” violence in New Caledonia, call for calm from

Stores destroyed, houses burned, shots fired with large caliber weapons: “fairly unprecedented” violence, according to the authorities, broke out on the night of Monday Tuesday in New Caledonia, before the vote of deputies on a criticized constitutional revision by the independentists.

The independent president of the government of this South Pacific territory, Louis Mapou, called in a press release for calm and reason. A curfew was declared for the night of Tuesday Wednesday by the High Commission of the Republic.

“All the reasons for discontent, frustration and anger cannot justify damaging or destroying what the country has been able to build over decades and mortgaging the future,” he added.

The first altercations with the police began on Monday, on the sidelines of an independentist mobilization against the constitutional reform being examined in Paris at the National Assembly, which aims to expand the electorate in the provincial elections, crucial in New Caldonia.

Opponents criticize a thaw which risks further marginalizing the indigenous Kanak people.

The High Commissioner of the Republic in New Caledonia, Louis Le Franc, reported intense shooting with large-caliber weapons, large-scale rifles, on the gendarmes during the violence in the commune of Mont-Dore, in the south-east. from Nouma, during the night of Monday Tuesday.

In the northern districts of Nouma, the state representative deplored the destruction of businesses, pharmacies and homes.

“We have unfortunately observed exfiltration of residents from their homes only to have their homes burned down,” added Louis Le Franc during a press conference on Tuesday.

“We have been confronted for more than 24 hours with a real outburst of hatred, a surge of young people, often drunk, clearly manipulated and with quite unprecedented violence,” lamented General Nicolas Matthos, commander of the New Caledonia gendarmerie.

According to the high commission, 36 gendarmes were injured and 48 people arrested.

In fear of getting bogged down, the Raid, four squadrons of mobile gendarmes and two sections of the CRS 8, a unit specializing in the fight against urban violence, were mobilized. Fifteen reinforcements from the GIGN were also to be sent to Nouma.

The authorities are particularly concerned by a fire factory located at the entrance to the city and in which around thirty rioters were holed up on Tuesday. We urge them to leave the premises, due to the imminent risk of explosion of two hydrogen tanks located on the site, said Louis Le Franc.

Nouma firefighters said they received nearly 1,500 calls on the night of Monday to Tuesday and intervened on around 200 fires. According to an employers’ group, around thirty shops, factories and other businesses were burned down.

Sadness

I have a feeling of sadness, confides AFP Jean-Franck Jallet, owner of a butchery company saved from the flames by the firefighters. We have 40 employees, we have come close to disaster. We believed that living together was possible but it didn’t work, there are too many lies.

On Tuesday, the streets of Nouma and its suburbs were strewn with the wreckage of burning cars and the smoking remains of tires and pallets, according to an AFP correspondent on site.

Even if the situation is calmer on Tuesday, many barricades remain active. In the Noumen suburbs, a supermarket, rammed during the night, continued to be looted by the population, this correspondent reported.

A curfew was declared from Tuesday 6:00 p.m. (07:00 GMT) Wednesday to 6:00 a.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT Tuesday). In addition, any gathering is prohibited in greater Nouma, as is the carrying of weapons and the sale of alcohol throughout New Caledonia, indicates the high commission, which invites the 270,000 inhabitants of the territory to stay at their home.

Airport closed

The Caldonian government has announced the closure of high schools and colleges until further notice. The international airport is closed and the Aircalin company has suspended its flights for Tuesday.

During a tense session on Monday at the National Assembly, Grald Darmanin called on deputies to adopt without modification the reform, which opens the provincial election to residents who have lived on the island for at least ten years.

While a solemn vote was normally planned for Tuesday afternoon, the debates in the National Assembly could not be concluded overnight, due to a large number of amendments tabled in particular by the Insoumis group. The new calendar will be effective Tuesday morning.

After that of the Senate, the approval of the Assembly is necessary to move this text forward, before bringing Parliament together in Congress to revise the Constitution, a date which remains fixed.

Advocating appeasement, President Emmanuel Macron promised on Sunday not to convene the Congress in the crowd of the Assembly vote, according to his entourage, to favor dialogue.

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