France: The state of emergency will be lifted Monday evening in New Caledonia

France: The state of emergency will be lifted Monday evening in New Caledonia
France: The state of emergency will be lifted Monday evening in New Caledonia

The state of emergency will be lifted Monday evening in New Caledonia

Published today at 12:48 a.m.

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The state of emergency in New Caledonia, affected by several days of riots, will be lifted on Monday at 8:00 p.m. (Swiss time, Tuesday 5:00 a.m. in Nouméa), the French presidency announced on Sunday, which also indicated that 480 mobile gendarmes would arrive as reinforcements on the archipelago.

The lifting of these exceptional measures must “allow meetings of the different components of the FLNKS (main pro-independence component, editor’s note) and travel to the roadblocks of elected officials or officials able to call for their lifting,” explained the same Source. in a press release.

The situation remains difficult on the spot, with the police still struggling to control certain districts of Greater Nouméa. And even if the night from Sunday to Monday was relatively calm, the international airport will remain closed to commercial flights at least until June 2.

Legal deadline of 12 days

The state of emergency was established on May 15 (Paris time, the 16th in Nouméa), after violence which has left seven dead to date and the detonator of which was the adoption in Paris of a reform providing for the thawing of the local electoral body, that is to say its expansion to people established for at least 10 years. Supporters of independence believe that this thaw risks “minorizing” the indigenous Kanak people even more.

Despite still high tensions, “the president has decided for the moment not to renew the state of emergency. This will not be extended beyond its legal deadline of 12 days, underlined the Élysée.

The executive hopes that this loosening of restrictions will allow a re-establishment of dialogue on the numerous roadblocks still in place, targeting in particular the independence collective CCAT (Cellule for Coordination of Field Actions) which is at the forefront of the protest. The FLNKS (Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front) for its part on Saturday renewed “its call for calm” and asked to “loosen the grip on the main routes of circulation”.

“Additional mobile forces”

Because the lifting of these roadblocks is “the necessary condition for the opening of concrete and serious negotiations”, the presidency recalled on Sunday, while Emmanuel Macron installed on Thursday, during his lightning visit to Nouméa, a dialogue mission composed of three senior officials who began to hold bilateral exchanges with stakeholders, pro-independence and non-independence groups.

This mission “stands ready to work with elected officials to establish a global agreement” around the unfreezing of the electorate, insisted the presidency. At the same time, the Élysée announced the dispatch “in the coming hours” of “7 additional mobile force units, or 480 mobile gendarmes”. In total, some 3,500 personnel are deployed on the archipelago where two gendarmes died during the riots.

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