25 Oct 2006

MP says occupation of French Polynesian Presidential Palace organised by former President

11:25 am on 25 October 2006

An MP in the French Polynesian government says yesterday's occupation of the presidential palace was organised by the former president, Gaston Flosse.

Sabrina Birk says Mr Flosse was in a car, by the assembly, watching everything.

Striking unionists had demanded the immediate return of President Oscar Temaru from the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Fiji to negotiate lower living costs and the dissolution of the assembly.

MP Sabrina Birk says the occupation was ended when the High Commissioner sent in police, and they liberated the buildings in about five minutes.

"They opened up the Presidency, the vice-Presidency, the place where two people were held like hostages, and the last place they opened up was the Assembly. They had to use tear gas to open it up inorder to get these people of Gaston Flosse out."

But Sabrina Birk says the parliament is damaged with rocks and broken windows.

She says people are very relieved this morning that the High Commisisoner took control.