2 Jul 2002

More protests over New Caledonian health insurance scheme

1:07 pm on 2 July 2002

In New Caledonia, hundreds of self-employed workers cut access to the centre of the capital Noumea this morning.

The workers are protesting about the government's compulsory health insurance scheme which came into effect yesterday.

They are also protesting against what they say was excessive force used by the police against protestors yesterday.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at several hundred self employed protestors gathered outside the government building in Noumea yesterday morning.

Three people were taken to hospital with injuries and one was admitted.

Over the past few months the workers have held several protests against the introduction of the insurance scheme.

They want the subscriptions for the health insurance fixed in proportion to individual incomes.

Under the scheme, the government has set a maximum income limit.

The workers say this will penalise medium income earners and higher income earners will get away with paying comparatively lower subscriptions.