Buildings Torched in Fresh Protests in French Territory New Caledonia

Buildings Torched in Fresh Protests in French Territory New Caledonia

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Several buildings and vehicles were torched in renewed unrest in France's Pacific territory New Caledonia overnight, authorities said on Monday.

The French High Commission said in a statement the "night was tubulent" and marked by unrest throughout the mainland and the nearby islands of Ile des Pins and Mare, DPA reported.

The commission said a police station and vehicles were set alight in Dumbea, north of the capital Noumea. A fire was also lit at the Koumac town hall, while the Mare territorial brigade was also attacked.

In May, France sent hundreds of police to New Caledonia and declared a 12-day state of emergency due to pro-independence protests, in which at least seven people died and hundreds were detained, following plans in Paris regarding a constitutional amendment.

This would grant thousands of French-born inhabitants of the archipelago the right to vote in provincial elections and give them more political influence.

New Caledonia's pro-independence movement fears the change will result in a weakening of political influence among the Indigenous Kanak people.

In three referendums in 2018, 2020 and 2021, the inhabitants of the former French colony voted in favor of remaining part of France. However, since the last vote, boycotted by the separatists, talks on a new status have stalled.

New Caledonia has historically been important to France in military and geopolitical terms, as well as due to its large nickel deposits.

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