first French people from mainland France evacuated while tension remains high

first French people from mainland France evacuated while tension remains high
first French people from mainland France evacuated while tension remains high

UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – In the neighborhoods where the separatists hostile to electoral reform are the most numerous and the best organized, regaining control of the lines of communication and stopping the acts of destruction will be a long and complex job.

Tension remains high on Saturday in New Caledonia, where the mission of “restore order in the days to come” set by President Emmanuel Macron is proving difficult, and where the evacuation of French tourists has begun. Le Figaro takes stock of the situation.

First French people from mainland France evacuated

For French people in mainland France stuck due to the riots, the first flights aboard military aircraft took off from the Magenta aerodrome in Nouméa on Saturday, towards Australia and New Zealand. “The wait was endless, since the reopening of the airport was postponed day by day”one of these tourists told AFP, referring to La Tontouta international airport, closed since May 14.

The FNLKS calls for the withdrawal of electoral reform

The New Caledonian independence movement FLNKS again demanded on Saturday the withdrawal of the electoral reform which caused the violence in this French archipelago, after meeting with President Emmanuel Macron. The separatists are protesting against a constitutional reform, adopted by the Senate then the National Assembly, which plans to expand the electorate during provincial elections. This reform is called “thaw” of the electorate.

Read alsoRiots in New Caledonia: the CCAT, this violent cell which fuels the fire of the insurrection

“The people have spoken. The FLNKS is opposed to the unfreezing of the electoral body as defined in the draft constitutional law. This text must therefore be withdrawn by the French government.wrote the movement in a press release. “The FLNKS asked the President of the French Republic that a strong announcement be made from him indicating the withdrawal of the constitutional bill”he added, speaking of “preliminary to ending the crisis”.

“We maintain the resistance in our neighborhoods”, for his part launched Christian Tein, the leader of the CCAT, the independence collective which is organizing the protest, during a press conference on Friday. He denounced “the strong repression (…) that our population is undergoing”. The separatist said he wanted “loosen the grip a little so that the fuel (…) and especially the medicines” can be transported without hindrance. “It’s our priority”he assured.

A seventh death

The death toll from the violence rose to seven on Friday, the seventh being a 48-year-old man whose identity has not been communicated, killed by a police officer. Two days after the head of state’s one-day visit, opponents of the electoral reform which provoked the riots from May 13 remain determined to obtain its definitive withdrawal.

Emmanuel Macron welcomed the restraint of the police on Thursday. He emphasized to New Caledonian journalists that “our gendarmes and our police officers did not kill anyone”. The next afternoon, the facts disproved it. A policeman, “physically attacked by a group of around fifteen individuals”pulled a “shot to escape” and killed a man, in Dumbéa near Nouméa, according to the account of the public prosecutor Yves Dupas.

Read alsoNew Caledonia: violence drags on in the north of Nouméa, despite Emmanuel Macron’s visit

This police officer, who presents “traces of blows on the face” just like a colleague who accompanied him, was placed in police custody, added the prosecutor. Before this homicide, the circumstances of which remain to be clarified, two gendarmes, one of whom was hit by an accidental shot, three Kanaks (natives) and a Caldoche (Caledonian of European origin) had been killed.

Images from public television Nouvelle-Calédonie La 1ère, and photos widely commented on social networks, showed the departure on Saturday morning of the coffin of a 19-year-old separatist, killed in Nouméa on May 15, by boat towards the island from Maré where he was from.

Operations in progress against dams, tension remains high

In the sectors and neighborhoods where the separatists hostile to electoral reform are the most numerous and the best organized, regaining control of the lines of communication and putting an end to acts of destruction, mainly at night, will be a very long and complex job.

“It is the order that must be reestablished, and reestablished quickly, before the situation degenerates further”Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said on Friday, during a ceremony paying tribute to the two gendarmes killed near Paris. “The situation today remains extremely fragile in New Caledonia, anything can cause it to falter”.

The High Commission of the Republic in New Caledonia reported in a press release on Saturday operations against the dams in seven districts of Nouméa, mainly in the north of the city. “The neutralization and cleaning of the roadblocks are carried out under the security of the police and gendarmerie forces”he described.

Read alsoNew Caledonia: an unprecedented measure to bring civil peace to the archipelago

Between the districts of Ducos and Kaméré, around ten backhoe loaders were active on Saturday to clear piles of debris still on fire, under the watchful eye of the gendarmes who secure the area, noted an AFP journalist. The Raid intervenes first to secure the passage of the convoy, under the incessant noise of the blades of a helicopter flying over the area. Trucks and sweepers bring up the rear to remove debris. The night from Friday to Saturday was still rough in several neighborhoods in and around Nouméa.

In Kaméré, houses were hit by fires and/or looted. A mother told AFP that she had been taken out of there via the ocean by the GIGN, with “several dozen people from the neighborhood”. “We found out from people in the neighborhood that our house had been looted in the night like others. It’s horrible, very shocking”, she said in tears on the phone. The authorities reported “35 people, including 7 minors”saved by the nautical brigade in the middle of the night.

“A global agreement” found by the end of June?

The state of emergency established on May 16 still prevails, with the accompanying measures: 12-hour daily curfew, ban on gatherings, transport of weapons and sale of alcohol, ban on the application TikTok. The President of the Republic wishes to be able to lift this state of emergency thanks to a “appeasement” which would come from negotiations on the institutional future of New Caledonia.

He gave elected officials and political leaders of the archipelago until the end of June, helped by a “mediation mission” of three senior officials dispatched from Paris. The president’s goal is “a global agreement” Who “can be submitted to the vote of the Caledonians”.

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