Macron to Visit New Caledonia Amid Escalating Unrest

French President Emmanuel Macron is gearing up for a visit to New Caledonia in response to the escalating turmoil, which represents the territory’s worst unrest in more than three decades. The government has announced Macron’s impending arrival, accompanied by additional security personnel to bolster the 1,500 already stationed there.

The High Commission of New Caledonia has revealed plans to deploy an additional 600 personnel to join those dispatched from France, as efforts to restore order intensify. Despite some progress, Noumea’s international airport remains closed to commercial flights, with authorities monitoring the situation closely.

The violence erupted following proposed changes to voting laws, sparking widespread chaos and leading to flight cancellations affecting thousands. Streets in Noumea were littered with makeshift blockades, resulting in casualties and significant property damage.

Australia and New Zealand have initiated military evacuations of their citizens, prioritizing those facing urgent needs. The unrest highlights deep-seated concerns within the Indigenous Kanak community regarding electoral reforms and their political representation.

Viro Xulue, a member of a Kanak community group, expressed profound fear amid the crisis, reminiscent of past conflicts. Tragic fatalities have occurred amidst the unrest, further inflaming tensions exacerbated by clashes between protesters and civilian militias.

While security forces have made efforts to dismantle road barricades, sporadic rebuilding persists, underscoring the enduring unrest. The situation remains volatile as stakeholders grapple with underlying grievances and seek a path toward resolution.

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