Police operation in New Caledonia to “regain control” of the territory – rts.ch

Police operation in New Caledonia to “regain control” of the territory – rts.ch
Police operation in New Caledonia to “regain control” of the territory – rts.ch

The French state went on the offensive on Sunday in New Caledonia to try to “regain total control” of the territory. A large-scale operation is being carried out by gendarmes on the road between the capital Nouméa and the international airport.

The anger of the separatists, provoked by a reform of the electoral body of the South Pacific archipelago, triggered a cycle of violence marked by days and nights of fires, clashes and blockades.

>> Review the images of the clashes during the night from Monday to Tuesday:

Night of violence in New Caledonia / News on video / 34 sec. / Tuesday at 12:12

In the absence of flights to and from New Caledonia, suspended since Tuesday, the French executive has given priority to the route between Nouméa and its international airport.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on X the start, Sunday morning, of a “major operation” mobilizing “600 gendarmes, including a hundred from the GIGN”, an elite unit of the French national gendarmerie.

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“Republican order will be restored, whatever the cost,” declared the High Commissioner of the Republic in New Caledonia.

“I want to say to the rioters: stop, return to calm, surrender your weapons,” added Louis Le Franc during a press briefing broadcast by public television Nouvelle-Calédonie La 1ère. The State representative announced new operations by the police in the coming hours to regain full control of the territory.

>> To understand the situation in New Caledonia, read: The crisis in New Caledonia exacerbated by its colonial past

Obstacles and roadblocks

The operation consisted of sending a convoy from Nouméa to remove all obstacles on this route. It is made up, among other things, of gendarmerie armored vehicles and construction equipment which clear the passage. However, certain roadblocks removed by the convoy were re-established as soon as it left.

AFP journalists noted that at midday on Sunday, in Nouméa and neighboring towns, traffic for those who wanted to leave the city towards the northwest remained hampered. Independentists filter the passage through numerous roadblocks, made of stones and various devices in particular.

Although these journalists were able to reach La Tontouta airport in the afternoon, they had to stop at various roadblocks, some of which were manned by men armed with sticks or bladed weapons.

New reinforcements expected

The High Commission of the Republic in New Caledonia announced in a press release on Sunday the imminent arrival of “several hundred internal security, logistical and operational support and civil security forces”, in addition to the reinforcements already sent.

“In total, 230 rioters were arrested” in nearly a week, he added.

Restoring this circulation is especially urgent since New Zealand and Australia announced on Sunday that they had asked France to be able to land planes, in order to repatriate their nationals.

On Saturday, the government of New Caledonia estimated that 3,200 people were stranded in the absence of flights, either because they could not leave the archipelago or because they could not join it.

juma with ats

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