6 Dec 2004

French Polynesia occupations set to continue until February

4:45 pm on 6 December 2004

The groups occupying French Polynesia's presidential palace complex say they will not leave until February when by-elections are due to be held.

Calling themselves the Popular Movement, they say they are people who says no to injustice and no to corruption.

The occupation began after the controversial election of Gaston Flosse as president in October when he was chosen by a majority of MPs to succeed Oscar Temaru.

Yesterday, Mr Temaru addressed an estimated 2,000 people at the palace and asked them to leave to pave the way for general elections.

An ousted MP of the Temaru coalition, Tea Hirshon, says Mr Temaru has been in touch with the French overseas territories minister, Brigitte Girardin.

"If the barricades are totally lifted, Mrs Girardin has said that negotiations could start right away. They actually have in their bag a plan that could very quickly change the electoral rules so that we have general elections by the end of March or April. There fore it would cancel those elections on the 13th of February."

Tea Hirshon