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NEW CALEDONIA UNREST: FAQS



  May 21, 2024

NEW CALEDONIA UNREST: FAQS



WHAT IS HAPPENING IN NEW CALEDONIA?

New Caledonia, a French territory in the Pacific, is experiencing severe unrest due to protests against French plans to change voting rules. The unrest has led to violence, roadblocks, and the closure of the main airport.

WHY ARE PEOPLE PROTESTING?

Protests were sparked by proposed changes that would grant voting rights to tens of thousands of non-Indigenous residents. Indigenous Kanaks believe these changes would dilute their political influence.

WHAT ACTIONS HAS THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT TAKEN?

- Declared a state of emergency.

- Sent reinforcements, including 1,000 additional security personnel.

- Launched operations to clear roadblocks and restore order.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT OF THE UNREST?

- Extensive property damage, including vehicles, businesses, and public buildings set on fire.

- Control of the main road to La Tontouta International Airport, leading to its closure.

- Shortages of food and essential supplies.

- Curfews and a ban on TikTok to curb unrest.

HOW ARE THE PROTESTERS RESPONDING?

Protesters have been rebuilding roadblocks after they are cleared by security forces. Some have engaged in violence, including setting fires and raiding petrol stations.

WHAT IS THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT?

New Caledonia has been a French territory since the mid-1800s. Its politics are divided on whether the islands should remain part of France, become autonomous, or gain independence, with Indigenous Kanaks largely supporting independence.

WHAT ARE THE DEMANDS OF THE PROTESTERS?

Protesters, primarily Indigenous Kanaks, demand the withdrawal of the voting reform to prevent dilution of their voting power.

WHAT ARE THE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSES?

- The New Zealand military has prepared repatriation flights for stranded tourists.

- Foreign officials have expressed concern over the situation and are monitoring developments closely.

WHAT ARE THE IMMEDIATE NEXT STEPS?

- French security forces will continue operations to reclaim control from pro-independence groups.

- An emergency court hearing in Paris is scheduled to address the TikTok ban.

- Discussions are ongoing about extending the state of emergency beyond its initial period.




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