14 Jul 2008

New Caledonia's USTKE union calls for general strike tomorrow

10:19 am on 14 July 2008

The mainly Kanak USTKE union in New Caledonia says it will hold a one-day

general strike tomorrow as 22 of its members are due in the court of appeal.

They were convicted in April to jail sentences for their role in the clashes with police in Noumea in January.

45 people were arrested during hours of clashes which left nine members of the security forces injured while more than 10 USTKE supporters were hurt when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to dislodge them.

Among those convicted for the incident is the union's president, Gerard Jodar who has told the local media that they are being taken to court because they no longer want to be part of talks seeking a social dialogue.

He also says pressure keeps building as a judicial probe has been launched into finding out who are behind the union's anti-state and anti-police comments on the internet.