12 Aug 2009

New Caledonians march against violence

9:38 am on 12 August 2009

A march has been organised in the New Caledonian capital, Noumea, this morning to denounce the recent violence which had caused disruptions in mainly Noumea and left scores of police injured.

The clashes were a nearly daily occurrence and involved riot police and supporters of the USTKE union, which took action over a labour dispute at a local airline and to campaign for the release of its jailed leader, Gerard Jodar.

Today's march is being supported by employers, anti-independence parties and unions, with a spokesperson saying their action is to express their will to work on a common destiny.

The march comes as the USTKE union, along with some pro-independence politicians and the Rhebuu Nuu environmental organisation, has announced a day of action on August the 22nd in part to denounce what it says is a disproportionate police repression.

There have been claims of police brutality, with the news agency AFP quoting a case of a bystander who was injured although he had no role in the demonstrations.