18 Aug 2005

French Polynesian president to speak on GIP blockade

3:55 pm on 18 August 2005

French Polynesia's President Oscar Temaru is to make a formal statement tonight on the latest blockade of the Papeete port by the GIP intervention force.

About 300 members of the GIP led by their former boss, Rere Puputauki, began the blockade last night and threatened to extend it to access streets into Papeete and the airport in Faaa.

The blockade is the third in five months and is purportedly aimed at securing lasting employment for 300 GIP members who were hired by the previous government allegedly without a budgetary provision.

The employers organisation has expressed its concern at the latest blockade, saying the action is illicit.

It has arranged for talks with the French high commission.

The last blockade was lifted after the French state backed a settlement that provided for a review of the GIP but which is being extended.

The French state refused to intervene in the first blockade, describing it as a labour dispute.