26 Oct 2006

One party pulls out of planned protest march tomorrow in Papeete

7:04 pm on 26 October 2006

The French Polynesian opposition Aia Api Party has pulled out of tomorrow's planned march to call for the resignation of the French high commissioner, Anne Boquet.

The march was organised after Mrs Boquet ordered riot police to clear public buildings seized by unionists, former members of the dissolved GIP intervention force and activists of Aia Api.

After tolerating 11 days of illegal road blocks around Papeete, Mrs Boquet said the strikers had crossed a red line by seizing the presidential palace and the territorial assembly.

The former GIP leader, Leonard Puputauki, is expected to lead the anti-French march.

The Aia Api party has called the territorial president, Oscare Temaru, to resign.

The party leader, Emile Vernaudon, has also proposed holding a vote on independence from France.

This comes amid Mr Temaru's repeated calls for a phased transition to full self-determination.

France has consistently ruled out independence and refuses to put French Polynesia back on the UN list of territories to be decolonised.