25 Oct 2007

French government awards medals to police officers in New Caledonia

11:49 am on 25 October 2007

The French government has awarded medals to police officers in New Caledonia who were injured in clashes with unionists during a recent official ministerial visit.

According to a police spokesman, two officers were badly beaten by dozens of people.

The junior minister, Christian Estrosi, says the medals are in recognition for their professionalism and courage as they withstood the unionists' attempts to break a safety cordon near the French high commission in Noumea.

After the minister's visit, the French high commissioner resigned reportedly over differences with Mr Estrosi over how to handle dissent.