Registrar Cy Ensures Business Continuity Amid New Caledonia Unrest

16 May 2024

Unrest in New Caledonia Escalates as France Deploys Additional Forces

In the wake of escalating violence in New Caledonia, French authorities have taken decisive action to restore order. The French High Commissioner, Louis Le Franc, announced that the military is now safeguarding key transportation hubs, including the island’s airports and port, following a series of riots that have tragically claimed four lives.

With tensions running high, the French-ruled island has seen approximately 5,000 rioters take to the streets in three municipalities, including a significant number in the capital, Noumea. The situation has led to the arrest of 200 individuals and injuries to 64 law enforcement officers. The unrest has also resulted in road barricades that are severely disrupting essential supplies of medicine and food.

Authorities have declared a state of emergency, granting them expanded powers to prohibit gatherings and restrict movement across the island. In response to the crisis, France has bolstered its police presence with an additional 500 officers joining the 1,800 already stationed there.

The riots have seen widespread destruction, with vehicles and businesses set ablaze and stores looted. Noumea resident Yoan Fleurot described a harrowing scene of looting and property damage, with some shopkeepers allowing their goods to be taken in hopes of sparing their establishments from further harm.

Amidst the chaos, main and secondary roads in Noumea are obstructed by barricades made of burning cars and debris, some rigged with explosive devices. The High Commissioner has made a direct appeal to the leaders of the protest-organizing group CCAT to cease their dangerous actions.

The violence erupted over a contentious bill passed by French lawmakers that extends voting rights in provincial elections to French residents living in New Caledonia for at least ten years—a move that has sparked fears among local leaders of diluting the indigenous Kanak vote. This electoral reform has become the latest point of contention in the long-standing debate over France’s influence on the mineral-rich Pacific island.

As the island grapples with this crisis, a 12-day state of emergency remains in effect, and authorities have also prohibited the use of the video app TikTok. The FLNKS, the main pro-independence party, has denounced the violence and is advocating for dialogue to address the situation.

What caused the armed forces to guard New Caledonias airports and port after riots?

The military deployment to New Caledonias airports and port was a response to violent protests stemming from economic grievances and tensions over independence from France.

Can armed forces ensure the safety of New Caledonias airports and port amidst violent riots?

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