27 Jul 2006

French prosecutor appeals Kanaks' acquittal in Goro vandalism case

10:50 am on 27 July 2006

The French public prosecutor in New Caledonia has appealed this week's decision by a Noumea court to acquit most of the Kanak activists who were involved in last April's violent protest against the Goro nickel project.

16 members of the Rheebu Nuu group were arrested after the group destroyed Goro equipment and installations worth ten million US dollars in a bid to halt the two-billion US dollar project.

Rheebu Nuu claims the project destroys the environment.

To end the blockade, large numbers of French riot police intervened and the construction site was shut for three weeks.

On Tuesday, the court acquited six of the accused and gave suspended fines to the ten others, saying rights about the environment are ill defined in the territory.

But the prosecution is now challenging the ruling.

Last week, Rheebu Nuu gave a September the 24th ultimatum to Goro to stop all construction work, saying its project still fails to meet required environmental standards