21 Mar 2005

Special presidential force in French Polynesia refuses to see Flosse supporter

6:44 am on 21 March 2005

French Polynesia's presidential intervention group, the GIP, has refused to receive Emile Vernier, the man who has been organising pro-French drives around Tahiti since the beginning of this year.

Mr Vernier says the former president, Gaston Flosse, lost the election in February because his name had been sullied by the new GIP boss, Robert Maker.

Speaking on local radio, Mr Vernier accused Mr Maker of claiming that Mr Flosse was responsible for the murder of a Tahiti journalist in 1997.

For the past ten days, some GIP members have prevented Mr Maker from getting into their Papeete headquarters in defiance of the new government led by Oscar Temaru.

The GIP has now also refused to receive Mr Vernier and his convoy of supporters who again arranged a drive around Tahiti.

Meanwhile, large numbers of backers of Mr Temaru's Union For Democracy have held a drive around the island of Moorea to thank voters for their support in last month's election.