18 Aug 2005

French Polynesia intervention group lays chokehold on main port

6:36 am on 18 August 2005

The presidential intervention group in French Polynesia has blocked off the main port in the capital, choking the territory's fuel imports.

The news agency Tahitipresse reports dozens of red-shirted members of the group, known as the GIP, barred entry to the port across the Motu Uta bridge.

The GIP members are said to be protesting against the appointment of a new director to replace the current interim chief, Yannick Boosie.

Earlier this month, the longtime head of the GIP, Leonard Puputauki, threatened strike action if any of the 1,300 GIP members would lose their job.

In March, the GIP twice blocked the port and forced President Oscar Temaru to drop his nominee as head of the group.