26 Jul 2006

New Caledonia court acquits Kanak activists in Goro vandalism case

1:42 pm on 26 July 2006

A court in New Caledonia has acquitted six of the Kanak activists who were detained in April over the violent blockade of the Goro Nickel project in the territory's south.

16 members of the Rheebu Nuu group were arrested after the group destroyed Goro equipment and installations worth ten million US dollars in a bid to halt the two-billion US dollar project, claiming it damaged the environment.

Large numbers of French riot police intervened and the construction site was shut for three weeks.

The court has now acquitted six of the accused and given suspended fines to the remaining ten.

In its preliminary ruling, it said the environmental rights in New Caledonia are insufficient.

Rheebu Nuu has given a September the 24th ultimatum to Goro to stop all construction work, saying its project fails to meet required environmental standards.