New Caledonia pro-Independence leader charged after deadly riots: Report

Christian Tein charged in New Caledonia riots linked to electoral reforms, says BBC

Gizem Nisa Cebi  | 23.06.2024 - Update : 24.06.2024
New Caledonia pro-Independence leader charged after deadly riots: Report


Christian Tein, a key pro-independence figure in New Caledonia, has been charged after deadly riots rocked the French Pacific territory last month, the BBC reported Saturday.

BBC News said Tein and several others from the Coordination of Action on the Ground (CCAT), accused of organizing the unrest, were arrested Wednesday, alongside the group’s communications chief, Brenda Wanabo.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin characterized CCAT as a "mafia-style organization," but CCAT denied responsibility for the riot-related violence, the BBC noted.

In response to the turmoil, the French government deployed 3,500 security personnel and temporarily closed Noumea's International Airport.

The riots, sparked by electoral reform proposals by French President Emmanuel Macron, left nine dead, including police officers and hundreds injured.

The reforms aimed to extend voting rights to residents who had lived in New Caledonia for at least a decade, angering the indigenous Kanak community who feared political marginalization.

The Kanaks currently have restricted voting rights and want to protect their influence in potential independence referendums.

Facing widespread opposition, Macron suspended the reform bill on June 13.

France, which colonized New Caledonia in 1853, has a complex relationship with the territory. Kanaks, numbering 112,000 in a population of 300,000, continue to advocate for independence.

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