6 Nov 2006

Former GIP leader warns of further disruption in French Polynesia

5:44 am on 6 November 2006

The former leader of French Polynesia's disbanded GIP intervention force, Leonard Puputauki, has warned of further action after the group failed to get the government to agree to pay the compensation expected by the former GIP members.

The former GIP members, who last month staged what the government called an attempted coup, have now abandoned the talks instigated by the French high commission to end illegal road blocks around Papeete.

Walter Zweifel reports:

"The talks were opened just over a week ago after French riot police using tear gas ended a blockade of the presidential palace and the territorial assembly by Mr Puputauki's supporters, unionists and opposition activists. Mr Puputauki says there seems no point to hold any more meetings and he has told the Tahitipresse news agency that he'll consult the former GIP ranks and file before deciding on what action to take next. Ever since Oscar Temaru came to power in March last year, Mr Puputauki has set up illegal blockades with impunity, prompting Mr Temaru to disband the GIP whose 1,000 strong force was widely seen as the former leader Gaston Flosse's militia. After the surprise police action against his supporters, Mr Puputauki asked the French high commissioner to resign and he now warns that to push their demands the former GIP team may block Mr Temaru's home."