New Caledonia: Macron Declares State of Emergency Amid Deadly Riots

President Emmanuel Macron has taken action to declare a state of emergency in New Caledonia, a French territory in the Pacific, following two nights of violent riots that resulted in four deaths, including a gendarme, and left hundreds injured.

The unrest erupted after the lower house of parliament in Paris approved controversial changes to voting rules, which the indigenous Kanak population argues will diminish their electoral influence.

Despite the deployment of heavily armed security forces and the imposition of a nighttime curfew in the capital, Noumea, rioting persisted, marking the worst violence in the region since the 1980s.

New Caledonia, located between Australia and Fiji, is among France’s overseas territories worldwide, distinguished by its unique status stemming from French colonization in the late 19th century.

Although the territory has rejected independence in referendums on three occasions, there remains significant support for independence among the indigenous Kanak people.

Macron has issued a stern warning that further violence will be met with an uncompromising response and has called for a renewal of political dialogue to address the situation, according to the Elysee.

The government has approved the declaration of a state of emergency, scheduled to take effect from 8 pm Paris time (5 am Thursday in Noumea), with Prime Minister Gabriel Attal overseeing a crisis unit at the interior ministry to monitor its implementation.

Under the state of emergency, authorities will have the power to enforce travel restrictions, impose house arrests, and conduct searches, government spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot confirmed.

Nearly 1,800 law enforcement officers have been mobilized, with an additional 500 reinforcements being deployed to address the escalating crisis, Thevenot added.

Macron has canceled his scheduled trip to Normandy to chair a new crisis meeting on Thursday, as announced by the presidency, underscoring the gravity of the situation.


In response to widespread riots, France has placed army personnel at ports and the airport in New Caledonia, following the ban on TikTok and the declaration of a state of emergency.

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