14 Nov 2012

New Caledonia removes Kanak structures from Noumea square

2:02 pm on 14 November 2012

The authorities of New Caledonia's capital have used bulldozers to remove traditional Kanak houses from a Noumea parking lot after they had not been dismantled as agreed.

Security forces were deployed for the dawn action which followed weeks of unsuccessful talks to get the area cleared.

A committee called 150 Years After erected the traditional structures in late September for events aimed at marking the festival of citizenship, but at the event's conclusion a Kanak group maintained the facility.

The customary Kanak Senate also encouraged the so-called city tribe to dismantle the structures in line with the undertaking given before the festival.

The incident comes amid a continued search for common symbols of New Caledonia's identity as the territory nears a possible referendum on independence.