21 Jul 2003

New Caledonian union calls for strike against French president's visit

10:17 am on 21 July 2003

The mainly Kanak USTKE union has called for a general strike to coincide with this week's visit to New Calaedonia by French president Jaques Chirac.

Its leader, Gerard Jodard, says protest rallies are to be held to show that all is not well, in particular with the local government, the Noumea accord and labour market policies.

Mr Chirac is due to arrive on Wednesday for his first visit to Noumea since 1987.

The anti-independence RPCR party has meanwhile called on the public to turn out in large numbers for the visit.

It says this is to show that everybody in New Caledonia wants to work for a common destiny.

The party says Mr Chirac has always been a friend and his visit is a chance to show recognition of that friendship.