4 Apr 2005

French High Commission steps into try to end port blockade in French Polynesia

7:08 am on 4 April 2005

The French high commission in French Polynesia has formed a mediation team in a bid to end the rebellion of the intervention group, the GIP, which has blocked the port of Papeete and its industrial zone for nearly four days.

The insurrection began last month when hundreds of GIP members refused to accept Robert Maker as their boss appointed by the government of Oscar Temaru.

He has since been dropped, but the GIP is insisting on deciding who will take over, leaving the conflict deadlocked.

Walter Zweifel reports:

"President Oscar Temaru says he cannot accept anarchy, with his government re-stating that it's up to the French state as guarantor of public safety to clear the access road to the port. The GIP has accused the government of failing to honour the Easter accord that ended the previous port blockade. And the GIP is now demanding that the government accept Yannick Boosie as its boss, but Mr Temaru is refusing to bow to the GIP for a second time in a week. Union leaders have abandoned their attempts to mediate an end to the crippling conflict, which has now prompted the French high commission to act. Earlier, it ignored all calls, saying the blockade was a labour dispute between the government and the GIP. But the unions have warned the French high commission against the use of force to end the blockade, saying their response would be a general strike."