New riots in New Caledonia: City hall and police building set on fire

Riots in New Caledonia / Photo: Delphine MAYEUR / AFP / Profimedia

Fresh riots broke out in New Caledonia in which city hall and police buildings were set on fire overnight after seven detained pro-independence activists in the French overseas territory were transferred to France for pre-trial detention, authorities said.

The riots broke out because the transfer of those arrested, who are accused of organizing last month's violent protests in New Caledonia, was considered a "political deportation", the local prosecutor said, reported The Guardian.

The prosecutor stated that the transfer of the arrested persons by plane was organized during the night and that they were transferred so that the investigation against them could continue "without any pressure".

The situation in New Caledonia remains very tense following the arrest of 11 pro-independence activists suspected of planning violent protests since May 13.

The unrest in New Caledonia erupted as the French parliament debated a bill that would have given thousands of French citizens on the archipelago the right to vote in provincial elections.

The New Caledonian independence movement fears such a change would weaken the political influence of the indigenous Kanak people.

Nine people, including two policemen, died in the violence that damaged businesses, shops and homes.

French President Emmanuel Macron suspended changes to New Caledonia's electoral law, ending the unrest.

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