French President Macron says French Troops Will Stay in New Caledonia

French President Emmanuel Macron has said French soldiers will remain in New Caledonia “as long as necessary” after more than a week of unrest triggered by French plans to change electoral rules in the Pacific island territory.

Macron arrived in New Caledonia’s capital Noumea on Thursday, amid continuing protests over voting reforms the Indigenous Kanak people say would dilute their vote and undermine their struggle for independence.

The reforms would allow French people who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years or more to vote in New Caledonia’s provincial elections.

About 3,000 soldiers have been sent from Paris since the violence began and could stay until the Olympic Games in Paris, which begin on July 26, Macron said.

Six people, including three young Kanaks, have been killed and about 280 people arrested since the protests broke out and a state of emergency was declared.

Macron observed a minute of silence for the people who had been killed and said if roadblocks and barricades were removed, he would be opposed to extending the state of emergency.

The French president also met the pro-independence President of the Government of New Caledonia Louis Mapou and the President of Congress Roch Wamytan, in a meeting at the residence of France’s high commissioner to New Caledonia in Noumea on Thursday.

Macron flew about 17,000km (10,500 miles) from mainland France to reach Noumea and was expected to remain in New Caledonia for around 12 hours.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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