29 Nov 2004

Deadline for ending of French Polynesian occupation of Presidential Palace expires

10:43 am on 29 November 2004

The order from France's Supreme Court for the ending of the occupation of French Polynesia's Presidential Palace expired a few minutes ago.

Protestors calling for the dissolution of the territory's Assembly have been told that they must end the occupation if the talks in Paris on ending the political crisis in Tahiti are to continue.

Walter Zweifel reports that five daysof meetings between the French minister in charge of overseas territories and all of French Polynesia's political parties have made little progress.

"The only agreement to emerge so far is that early general elections should be held if the occupations end. While Oscar Temaru wants to go to the polls as soon as possible, Gaston Flosse has reportedly proposed them for 2006. The two sides also disagree on whether to change the controversial electoral system."

About an hour ago, a spokesperson for Mr Flosse's administration, Jean-Christophe Bouissou, said a group of 50 to 60 people were still in the palace.

Mr Bouissou says Mr Flosse has said he will return to Papeete and break off the talks if the occupation is not ended.

At about the same time the news agency AFP quoted some of the occupiers as saying they were determined to maintain the blockade.