27 Mar 2008

New Caledonian court hears USTKE clash case

2:39 pm on 27 March 2008

A New Caledonian court has been asked to jail 19 members of the USTKE union for their role in clashes with police in January.

Noumea's daily newspaper reports that the prosecutor wants them to be jailed for terms of one to six months for attacking police officers.

The violence erupted after the unionists refused to disperse from publicly owned land next to the bus depot at the centre of their industrial action.

The court heard that the unionists said they threw rocks akin to an intifada to defend themselves.

The clashes left many policemen injured and prompted the union to lay charges against the French government for excessive violence, saying some of its members suffered broken noses and broken ribs.

The court is expected to deliver its verdict on April the 21st.