New Caledonia: “tense shooting with large caliber weapons”, burned houses… the call for calm after a night of riots

New Caledonia: “tense shooting with large caliber weapons”, burned houses... the call for calm after a night of riots

Des affrontements ont eu lieu entre manifestants et forces de l’ordre dans la nuit de lundi 13 à mardi 14 mai 2024 à Nouméa, en Nouvelle-Calédonie. THEO ROUBY – AFP

Clashes took place between demonstrators and police on the night of Monday 13 to Tuesday 14 May 2024 in Nouméa, New Caledonia, while the French National Assembly must to examine this Tuesday a constitutional revision denounced by the separatists.

The High Commissioner of the Republic in New Caledonia Louis Le Franc reported this Tuesday, May 14, 2024 "tense shooting with large caliber weapons , hunting rifles, on the gendarmes", during the night of riots in the commune of Mont-Dore.

These riots broke out in the archipelago while the constitutional reform is being examined in the National Assembly in Paris.

Reform examined in the Assembly

This reform aims to expand the electorate in provincial elections, crucial in New Caledonia. Established in 1998 by the Nouméa Agreement, the electorate is in fact frozen, which has the consequence, 25 years later, of depriving nearly one in five voters of the right to vote.< /p>

For the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, who carried out this constitutional reform, this provision "no longer conforms to the principles of democracy". But the separatists conversely criticize a thaw which risks "even further minimizing the indigenous Kanak people".

"There were no deaths"

"There were no deaths", said the High Commissioner of the Republic in New Caledonia this Tuesday, May 14 during a press conference, calling for calm after a night of riots. A curfew was decreed for Tuesday night See you Wednesday in the Nouméa metropolitan area.

In this sector, traffic is made difficult by the remains of burned cars or even smoking piles of leftover tires and pallets, reports RTL in particular.

Residents of Nouméa were taken out of their homes before their "homes were burned" during the violence, said Louis Le Franc .

"In the city of Nouméa, the action is carried out mainly in the northern districts with the destruction of businesses, pharmacies and homes" , declared the State representative during the same press conference.

Cars, businesses, factories on fire

During the night from Monday to Tuesday, firefighters recorded nearly 1 500 calls and identified around 200 homes. Hundreds of cars were set on fire. Around thirty companies, shops and factories were also burned, according to a group of employers' representatives.

"We're actually alone"

"Incessant screams, explosions", a Caledonian for several generations, quoted by RTL, expresses her dismay& nbsp;: "We're actually alone. Who will come and protect us ?"

The government project will be submitted to a solemn vote by deputies in the National Assembly on Tuesday May 14 afternoon in Paris.

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