18 Apr 2006

More clashes in New Caledonia between French police and Kanak activists

3:23 pm on 18 April 2006

Reports from New Caledonia say there have been more clashes between French riot police and Rheebu Nuu Kanak activists, with 18 demonstrators reported arrested this morning.

The Kanak USTKE union has now joined the campaign against the two-billion US dollar nickel project at Goro, saying it has to be made environmentally safe.

A top USTKE member, Pierre Chauvat, says they are blockading two shuttle boats in the port in Noumea, which sail to the Goro Nickel site.

Mr Chauvat also says there is action at the French High Commission office in La Foa.

And he says riots continue at the Goro site itself in the territory's south.

"We only have pieces of what's happening. And apparently from some sources we hear there are riots, big riots, heavy riots between the Rheebu Nuu committee and the police force there."

There has also been action against the Inco headquarters in Noumea today, but police cleared the blockades at about eight o'clock this morning.