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France imposes state of emergency after four deaths in New Caledonia riots

A new bill that allows French citizens who have lived in New Caledonia for ten years to vote in provincial elections sparked riots on Tuesday. Some local officials worry that this will weaken the Kanak vote. The bill was approved by parliamentarians in Paris.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 16th 2024 10:15 AM
France imposes state of emergency after four deaths in New Caledonia riots

France imposes state of emergency after four deaths in New Caledonia riots

PTC News Desk: After a second night of violence over changes to voting rights in the overseas territory that resulted in at least four deaths, France proclaimed a state of emergency in New Caledonia for at least 12 days.

Over 300 people have been hurt and over 130 people have been arrested, according to the French High Commission.


Following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Paris, Prisca Thevenot, a government spokesman, announced the decision, stating that it would try to ease tensions following the "scenes of chaos," according to the Guardian.

Under the emergency measures, authorities will have more authority to deal with the turmoil, and they may even be able to detain people in their homes if they pose a threat to public order.

500 more police officers have been ordered to the island to supplement the 1,800 already on duty, after protesters set fire to cars and shops and stole merchandise. The capital has already imposed a curfew and closed its schools.

A new bill that allows French citizens who have lived in New Caledonia for ten years to vote in provincial elections sparked riots on Tuesday. Some local officials worry that this will weaken the Kanak vote. The bill was approved by parliamentarians in Paris.

Gabriel Attal, the prime minister, declared, "No violence will be tolerated." He declared that "we will be able to roll out massive means to restore order" because of the state of emergency. Later, he declared that the main port and airport of New Caledonia would be secured by French military and signed an order establishing a 12-day state of emergency.

Additionally, TikTok, a video app that the government claimed helped rioters organize and exacerbated the turmoil during a summer of rioting on the French mainland, drawing troublemakers to the streets, was banned by authorities.

Three young, native Kanak people had perished in the rioting, according to a spokesman for President Louis Mapou of New Caledonia earlier in the day. Later, the French authorities said that a police official, 24, had passed away from a gunshot wound.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated, "He was shot right in the head when he removed his helmet (to speak to residents)."

Yoan Fleurot, a resident of Noumea, told Reuters in a Zoom interview that he was afraid for his family and was remaining at home to follow the evening curfew.

"I don't see how my country can recover after this," Fleurot remarked, noting that he goes out throughout the day to video the rioters, whom he has labeled as "terrorists," carrying a rifle.

- With inputs from agencies

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