French President Travels to Violence-Wracked New Caledonia

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 23, 2024 03:00 AMNews
Silhouette of trees near body of water during sunset
Silhouette of trees near body of water during sunset. Source: unsplash

President Emmanuel Macron is traveling to New Caledonia, a French-controlled Pacific archipelago, in the wake of violent riots over a controversial voting rights bill. Macron is expected to arrive early Thursday, amid ongoing unrest that has led to multiple fatalities and widespread destruction.

Context of the Unrest

The violence erupted following the introduction of a bill in the French parliament that would allow French-born residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote in local elections. Pro-independence leaders argue that this measure would dilute the political power of the indigenous Kanak people, who have historically faced discrimination. The clashes have resulted in at least six deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Impact on Noumea

In the capital, Noumea, rioters have looted and burned numerous homes and businesses, prompting authorities to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew and a ban on public gatherings. The violence has led to the closure of schools, businesses, and the island's main airport, stranding thousands of tourists. Kanak protesters have also set up roadblocks, cutting off essential supplies of food and medicine to residents and tourists.

International Response

Australia and New Zealand have begun evacuating their citizens from New Caledonia. Two Australian military transport planes are facilitating the evacuation of 300 Australian tourists. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced on social media that Canberra has been cleared for two government-assisted flights to evacuate Australians and other tourists. Wong stated that passengers are prioritized based on need, and additional flights are being arranged.

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters confirmed that a plane is being sent to evacuate 50 New Zealand nationals. Peters noted that the New Zealanders have faced significant challenges and that their safe return is a top priority for the government.

French Government Actions

In response to the escalating violence, France has deployed over 1,000 security personnel to restore order, with hundreds more scheduled to arrive by Tuesday. So far, authorities have arrested at least 270 individuals involved in the unrest.

Historical and Political Background

The bill at the center of the controversy was approved by France’s National Assembly last week, with a vote of 351-153. It must still pass a special session of both houses of parliament next month. This measure follows a 1998 agreement granting New Caledonia more political power and autonomy, including the holding of three referendums on the island’s status. However, voters have rejected independence in all three referendums.

President Macron's visit aims to address the grievances of the indigenous population and to find a resolution to the ongoing crisis, as the island grapples with significant political and social tensions.

Top Articles
Seville is the perfect vacation destination

Where to stay in Seville: Top 10 hotels for every traveler

Jun 14, 2024 09:17 AM
Secrets of choosing airlines in the US

Budget flights: the best US low-cost airlines for budget travelers

Jun 13, 2024 08:39 AM

Top 10 great hotels in Glasgow: from serviced apartments to stylish boutique properties and grand townhouses

Jun 12, 2024 09:15 AM

America's air harbors: the largest airports in the United States

Jun 11, 2024 10:07 AM
More News
A hand guiding a toy airplane over a world map drawn on a chalkboard

Avelo Airlines Expands with Four New Nonstop Destinations from New Haven

Jun 15, 2024 08:30 AM
Passengers seating in the aircraft

Key Rule Shared by Flight Attendant to Become a Cabin Crew Favorite

Jun 15, 2024 08:00 AM

Stadler’s FLIRT Trains Set to Transform Travel in Serbia

Jun 15, 2024 07:30 AM

Alaska Airlines Introduces Nonstop Flights Between Anchorage and New York City

Jun 15, 2024 06:30 AM
A crowd of people waiting for a train at a busy German train station during sunset

Euro 2024 Travel Chaos for England Fans

Jun 15, 2024 05:30 AM
Flynas airplane on the runway preparing for takeoff

Flynas Expands Domestic Flights for Summer, Boosting Tourism with Over 480,000 Seats

Jun 15, 2024 04:30 AM
Statue in front of Principality Stadium, Cardiff

Visit Cardiff Releases Travel Advice for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour

Jun 15, 2024 03:30 AM
Emirates airplane flying in the sky

Emirates Celebrates Eid Al Adha with Gourmet Treats and Entertainment

Jun 15, 2024 02:30 AM
A bus with a passenger waiting at the bus stop

Regional Bus Fares to Increase in West Midlands

Jun 15, 2024 01:30 AM

FK's New Baggage Sanitization System Eliminates 99.9% Of Harmful Pathogens From Luggage In Seconds

Jun 15, 2024 00:30 AM

FAA Investigates Southwest 737 MAX Incident After Near Mach 1 Scare

Jun 15, 2024 00:05 AM
Lightning striking the ground at night

Air New Zealand Flight Makes Emergency Return After Lightning Strike

Jun 14, 2024 23:30 PM
Wooden gavel with dollar sign on the base

FAA Cracks Down on Unruly Passengers as Summer Travel Soars

Jun 14, 2024 22:30 PM
Airplanes at Newark Liberty International Airport

Severe Weather in Florida Causes Major Disruptions at Newark Airport

Jun 14, 2024 21:30 PM
Aerial view of lush green landscape and beach on the Solomon Islands

Discover the Cultural Heritage of the Solomon Islands: Historical Recordings Return Home

Jun 14, 2024 20:30 PM

Greece Issues Travel Warning as Temperatures Soar to 43°C

Jun 14, 2024 19:30 PM

Flydubai Launches Seasonal Summer Routes to Stunning Island Destinations

Jun 14, 2024 18:30 PM
Qatar Airways plane on the runway

Qatar Airways Passengers Strip Amid 100-Degree Heat During Tarmac Delay

Jun 14, 2024 17:32 PM
Iberia airplane on the runway

Iberia Expands Record Capacity Between Europe and Latin America for 2024

Jun 14, 2024 16:30 PM
Person using a laptop

UK Travel Industry Faces New Regulatory Challenges Impacting Travelers

Jun 14, 2024 15:34 PM
Frontier Airlines plane in flight

Frontier Airlines Launches 'Family Summer Getaway' Giveaway

Jun 14, 2024 14:30 PM
Close-up view of a bus parked on a city street

Travel Disruption: Oxford Bus Services to Heathrow Cancelled

Jun 14, 2024 13:36 PM

World's Longest Cruise Offers 274 Nights of Adventure Across 60+ Countries

Jun 14, 2024 13:00 PM

Increasing Turbulence in Flights: What to Expect

Jun 14, 2024 12:30 PM
Black Pearson road bike

Naked Cyclists Protest for Safer Streets in London and Mexico City

Jun 14, 2024 12:00 PM
Police and emergency vehicles parked by the road

Safety Incident on Lowther Street, Carlisle: A Travel Advisory

Jun 14, 2024 11:35 AM