15 Aug 2011

Funerals held for victims of New Caledonia airport violence

3:18 pm on 15 August 2011

The funerals have been held for four young New Caledonians who were shot dead in Mare on August the 6th amid a dispute over the occupation of the island's airport.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Penelo to pay their last respects after the airport clash which also saw more than 20 people injured.

Church leaders have been mediating and helped lift the airport blockades triggered by a dispute over increased fares of Air Caledonie on its routes to Loyalty Islands destinations.

A priest says the mediation showed that mothers have fear while the fathers have moments of anger.

The airline's chair says the government has to unblock the situation in which a largely insolvent population is offered luxury travel, that is air travel.

More than 140 police have been deployed on Mare amid them a large number of investigators probing the fatal shootings.