Serious unrest – Austrians are trapped in New Caledonia


Unrest is currently gripping the French overseas territory of New Caledonia. The first plane to evacuate tourists has now landed in the capital Nouméa. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday evening, there are currently two Austrians on the archipelago.

An Australian Army Hercules transport plane was ready at Magenta’s domestic airport on Tuesday, AFP news agency correspondents reported. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong wrote in online networks that two flights were initially planned.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two Austrians are doing well on Tuesday evening. Everything is being done to support them as best as possible and to help them return quickly and safely, a spokeswoman said.

New Zealand also sent a military plane to New Caledonia to fly 50 tourists as a first step. “We are working on further flights in the coming days in collaboration with France and Australia,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.

Six dead and hundreds injured
The unrest in the overseas territory, which has already killed six people and injured hundreds, has been going on for just over a week. The riots were caused by a change in the electoral law put forward by the French government, which, according to independence supporters, would reduce the influence of the native population.

France has sent hundreds of security forces to New Caledonia to control the situation. According to authorities, 270 people have been arrested so far.

The road to La Tontouta international airport near the capital Nouméa has been blocked for days by independence supporters. Dozens of roadblocks cleared by security forces on Sunday were later largely rebuilt.

Flights to and from New Caledonia have been suspended since Tuesday. La Tontouta airport will remain closed to commercial flights until at least Thursday morning, the operator announced.

The representative of the French government in New Caledonia, Louis Le Franc, said on Tuesday morning that the gradual “return to calm” was continuing. At the same time, he announced that additional emergency services would be sent in the coming hours to curb the ongoing violence.

Source: Krone


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