18 Apr 2006

New Caledonia prosecutor seeks jailing of defendant in Goro violence

11:18 am on 18 April 2006

The public prosecutor in New Caledonia has appealed a court ruling to free a Kanak activist who had broken a policeman's leg during clashes near the Goro Nickel site.

Victor Ouetcho was detained over the incident but released until his trial on May the 12th on condition that he not use his vehicle and approach the Goro site.

The territory's daily newspaper reports that the policeman was injured in efforts to lift blockades set up by members of the Rheebu Nuu Kanak group opposed to the two-billion US dollar nickel project.

The defence has argued that there was no calm approach by the police as they used five live bullets against protesters armed with only metal bars and knives.

The action by the Rheebu Nuu group caused 10 million US dollars in damage and stopped all construction work indefinitely.