2 Dec 2005

French Polynesian assembly besieged by hundreds of workers on a general strike

1:25 pm on 2 December 2005

Hundreds of striking workers and officials have besieged the territorial assembly in French Polynesia which has been debating the budget.

The workers, whose spokesman is a top government official, Ronald Terorotua, are in the second day of an unlimited general strike aimed at forcing the government to abandon its fiscal reform programme.

The debate has been heated, with insults and calls for the resignation of President Oscar Temaru who was elected in March.

The unions claimed that the French state was to pay for some new provisions, prompting the French high commission to issue a statement to say that the union information is incorrect.

The strike is largely ignored by private sector employees but has strong backing by employees of the French state.