9 Jun 2006

New Caledonia union vows protests until leader is free

3:55 pm on 9 June 2006

The New Caledonian Kanak USTKE union says hundreds of demonstrators will continue their action in front of the police station in Noumea until their leader, Gerard Jodar, is free.

The union called for a general strike after riot police took action yesterday to free a container ship blocked by the union and arrested 17 people, including the union's leader.

USTKE took control over the port about three weeks ago to prevent global shipping giants Maersk and MSC from gaining much of the freight market.

An USTKE representative, Pierre Chauvat, says they will not move until their leader is free.

"We are more than a thousand people just gathering around the police station and we will soon take place of the streets around, and we will not move until the USTKE person is out."

Pierre Chauvat