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Australia and New Zealand bring citizens home from New Caledonia

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Smoke rises over New Caledonia’s capital Nouméa. There has been violent unrest on the island in the last week following a controversial decision in France’s National Assembly. Archive photo: Nicolas Job / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 21.05.2024 02:59:37

War and conflicts: Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong says they have been given the go-ahead to send two planes so Australian and other tourists can get away from the crisis-hit French territory. The hope is to bring out around 300 people.

Wong’s New Zealand colleague Winston Peters says they will bring home around “50 passengers with the most urgent needs”. They will be flown to Auckland in what Peters describes as the first of a series of proposed flights to bring New Zealanders home.

Separatists refused on Monday to give up the roadblocks they have set up, primarily between the capital Nouméa and the international airport. The closures have paralyzed the French territory for a week, and on Monday the airport was still closed.

France has sent more than 1,000 gendarmes and police officers to the islands, where at least six people have been killed – two of them gendarmes – in several nights of violent clashes. Hundreds have been injured in the clashes.

The unrest flared up after the French National Assembly voted in favor of an amendment that would give the right to vote to the tens of thousands of non-natives living in New Caledonia.

(© NTB)

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