29 May 2009

French Unions say their New Caledonian colleagues face intimidation

10:24 am on 29 May 2009

The French union umbrella group, CGT, has called for the immediate release of 30 New Caledonian unionists who were arrested during yesterday's clashes at Noumea's domestic airport.

The CGT has accused the French state of trying to settle social conflicts by means of intimidation.

It says the high commissioner didn't hesitate to send riot police to the airport where unionists were supporting a colleague facing unfair dismissal.

Police used tear gas to dislodge the unionists who had tried to seize the airport.

Some unionists then cut through the perimeter fence to get onto the tarmac and entered two ATR planes of the domestic carrier Aircal.

The French high commissioner says an explosive device was found in one of the aircraft.

But a small anti-capitalist party in France says the accusation is a lie which will fool nobody.

It claims the high commissioner's statement is a move to decapitate the USTKE union