29 Nov 2005

French Polynesia's GIP head forms union - report

12:09 pm on 29 November 2005

The former head of French Polynesia's GIP intervention force is reported to have set up his own union in the face of what is being described as a media campaign against the GIP by the government.

The newspaper, L'Hebdo, says Leonard Puputauki has set up the SSPF solidarity union to counter claims that the GIP is a militia that doesn't respect the law.

The paper says the union represents the interests of wage earners who have been deceived by the government.

It says there has been expressions of interest by people in a range of private and public enterprises.

Mr Puputauki led several blockades of the port of Papeete this year and this month he was placed under investigation for alleged manslaughter in connection with the sinking of one of the service's ships.

The GIP is also implicated in a probe of the disappearance of a Tahiti journalist in 1997.