18 Jan 2008

More arrests expected in New Caledonia after Noumea clashes

4:14 pm on 18 January 2008

Police in New Caledonia are expected to make more arrests following Thursday's clashes between security forces and those supporting the USTKE union which has been on strike at a Noumea bus depot.

45 people were arrested during hours of clashes which left nine members of the security forces injured while more than 10 USTKE supporters were hurt when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to dislodge them.

Several cars were burnt, including police vehicles, and footage from the incidents is now being used to track down more people suspected of involvement in the violence.

Local reports say among those detained were 10 women and a minor.

A meeting has been held this morning between the French high commissioner, who instigated the police raid, and the head of the USTKE union, but neither of them has commented to the media.

The strike at the Carsud bus depot was called in support of a union demand to have a sacked worker reinstated.