9 Jun 2006

French parties denounce police action in Noumea

8:40 am on 9 June 2006

There has been a strong reaction in France to yesterday\'s police

action in New Caledonia to free a container ship blocked by the Kanak

USTKE union.

Acting on a court order, riot police took over the Noumea dock area

where the ship of the company MSC was held, arresting 17 people,

including the USTKE president, Gerard Jodar.

A Socialist senator, Jean-Luc Melenchon, has called for immediate

release of the unionists and warns of a possible escalation.

The French Communists have also denounced the police action and the

Greens say the French high commission chose repression rather than

dialogue.

The USTKE action was aimed at preventing the world\'s two biggest

shipping company from setting up links with Noumea, claiming that

price dumping would force other operators out of business.