21 Dec 2009

French Polynesians march against new French nuclear compensation law

7:35 am on 21 December 2009

An estimated 3,000 people have joined a march in French Polynesia to demonstrate against the new French law to compensate nuclear weapons test victims, saying it doesn't go far enough.

The march in Papeete had been organised by test veterans, the Maohi Protestant church and the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira Party of Oscar Temaru.

The demonstration coincided with a visit to the territory of a French defence ministry delegation, which excluded the minister after he decided to pull out the day before he was due to leave Paris.

The marchers claim that the compensation law, which is to be voted on in Paris this week, is too restrictive as it only considers the fallout in parts of the territory and excludes a reference to the environment.

On the eve of the march, most political forces, including the party tied to the France's ruling UMP, expressed their support for the march after earlier accusing the Tavini of using the occasion for its own political ends.