Home World Emmanuel Macron in crisis as riots grip French island fighting for independence

Emmanuel Macron in crisis as riots grip French island fighting for independence

President Macron is facing a growing insurrection on a French island, which is pushing for independence from France.

The violence has now claimed the lives of six people after a shooting incident in New Caledonia on Friday.

The latest victim was a man, who was shot as he and his son tried to cross a barricade erected by rioters.

The incident occurred in northern Kaala-Gomen area of New Caledonia – a French territory comprising dozens of islands in the South Pacific.

Previously two gendarmes were killed, as well as three Indigenous Kanaks aged between 17 and 26.

Violence erupted last week following a vote in the National Assembly in Paris to allow French residents who have lived on the Pacific Islands for 10 years or more to vote in provincial elections.

Macron’s government argues these reforms strengthen democracy on the archipelago, while local residents see them as an attempt to thwart a growing independence movement led by the Indigenous Kanaks.

Anger among the Kanak people – who make 40 percent of the island’s population – has been simmering for weeks over plans to amend the French constitution, diluting a 1998 accord that limited voting rights.

French officials accused the pro-independence group CCAT of being behind the protests.

Ten activists charged with organising the violence have been placed under house arrest, according to the authorities.

France sent troops to New Caledonia’s ports and international airport, banned TikTok and imposed a state of emergency on May 16, after violence broke out.

Hundreds of heavily armed French marines and police patrolled the capital, Noumea, on Saturday, whose streets were filled with debris following several nights of looting, arson and armed clashes.

The city’s mayor Sonia Lagarde told news channel BFMTV: “We’re far from getting back to calm.

“You could describe the last two nights as calmer, but the days are all alike, each with their share of fire.”

Overnight, residents reported hearing gunfire, helicopters and “massive explosions”.

Mayor Lagarde said that Noumea resembled “a city under siege”, adding it will “take a bit of time” for security reinforcements to make their presence felt.


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