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Two killed as unrest in French Pacific territory of New Caledonia spirals

AT LEAST two people were killed and three were seriously injured overnight in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, French media reported today.

The continued unrest prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to convene a meeting of top ministers to discuss the spiralling violence.

It was the third day of violent unrest over a constitutional reform pushed by Paris that has roiled the archipelago, which has long sought independence.

On Tuesday, the French Interior Ministry sent police reinforcements to New Caledonia, which long served as a prison colony and now hosts a French military base. 

French authorities in the territory said more than 130 people have been arrested since Monday in the violence that has raged across the archipelago, with decades of tensions between indigenous Kanaks seeking independence and descendants of colonisers who want to remain part of France.

The unrest started on Monday with a protest over France’s efforts to expand voter lists that would benefit pro-France politicians on New Caledonia and further marginalise the indigenous Kanak people, who once suffered from strict segregation policies and widespread discrimination.

Early on Wednesday, France’s National Assembly adopted a constitutional revision reforming the electoral body in the territory, with 351 lawmakers voting for and 153 against the Bill.

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