26 Oct 2006

Talks planned with French Polynesia's president over strikers' demands

2:42 pm on 26 October 2006

The leader of French Polynesia's striking unionists, Ronald Terorotua, says the territory's president, Oscar Temaru, will hold talks with them this weekend.

This has been announced by Mr Terorotua after a telephone conversation with Mr Temaru, who has been in Fiji at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting.

The planned talks follow 10 days of illegal road blocks and a brief occupation of key government buildings by a group of unionists, former members of the dissolved GIP intervention force and activists of the pro-autonomy Aia Api opposition party.

Their initial demand was a lowering of the cost of living but they have also asked for Mr Temaru's resignation and the dissolution of the assembly.

The former GIP leader, Leonard Puputauki, plans a protest march tomorrow to call for the French high commissioner's resignation after she ordered riot police to remove the protestors that had seized the presidential palace and the assembly building.

The opposition has approved the police intervention although it had no objections to the prolonged illegal road blocks which the government claimed were erected as part of an opposition plot to destabilise the administration.