21 Jul 2003

Demonstrations planned in Tahiti to coincide with Chirac visit

1:53 pm on 21 July 2003

Two separate demonstrations are planned in the French Polynesian capital this weekend to coincide with a visit of the French president, Jacques Chirac.

The pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party says it will hold a march from Faaa to the centre of Papeete where Mr Chirac is due to lay a wreath and hold talks with the territory's political leaders.

The party's leader, Oscar Temaru, says he wants to remind Mr Chirac that according to the constitution, France has to lead the peoples for which it is responsible to independence and sovereignty.

A second demonstration is planned by the veterans who useed to work the nuclear weapons test site facilities on Mururoa and Fangataufa where France carried out more than 200 tests.

Their association, Mururoa o tatou, wants President Chirac to recognise their status as victims of the nuclear weapons programme which was abandoned in the mid 1990's.