15 May 2013

Thousands march in New Caledonia general strike

2:30 pm on 15 May 2013

Thousands of people in New Caledonia have joined a general strike to protest against the high cost of living.

The march by an estimated 7,000 people in the capital, Noumea, has gone to the territorial Congress and will move on to the French High Commission.

Local radio says there have also been rallies on the Isle of Pines and on Lifou.

Most unions have for years called for economic reforms, dismissing the measures adopted by the territorial government so far to address their concerns and calling for agreements to be implemented.

The mainly Kanak USTKE union has distanced itself from today's march, saying it is part of the Caledonian Union's campaign to blame other political parties for the problems.

It says the union movement ignores the migration question, which is at the source of the problems with the cost of living and unemployment.