19 Jul 2006

French Polynesia President airs independence call at youth festival

9:50 am on 19 July 2006

The French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru's welcoming speech at the Pacific Youth festival in Papeete has caused a stir.

Mr Temaru used the opportunity to express his political views for independence.

Sara Vui-Talitu reports.

"Mr Temaru told 1400 youths from 27 different countries the way forward for Tahiti is independence from France. He said he wanted young people to know the truth and that people in Tahiti should speak their own indigenous language. He also said he wanted to get rid of colonialism and racism. His comments saw the French High Commission delegation walk out. Organisers say the youth festival is not in any way politically geared."

Last night, many of the groups at the festival presented special gifts from their island homes to the President but he did not attend the evening performances.