1 Jul 2004

French Polynesia opposition says 7,000 in autonomy march

6:26 am on 1 July 2004

French Polynesia's opposition says about 7,000 people took part in yesterday's autonomy celebrations in Tahiti.

The rally took place just days after the new coalition government declared July the 12th as the territory's new annual autonomy day.

The opposition commemorates the day in 1984 when the former leader Gaston Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira was elected under a new autonomy statute.

The date is also the day in 1880 when the King of Tahiti signed a declaration ceding power to the French colonial rulers.

Mr Flosse told the Tahitipresse news agency, that by choosing July the 12th as a holiday, the new government is celebrating its march to independence.

He also says the autonomy supporters within the new coalition, have only minor ministries, where they support the weight of electoral promises, that they can't keep.