16 Jun 2006

French Polynesian blockade declared illegal but no action taken

9:35 am on 16 June 2006

The leader of the group blocking French Polynesia's main port has defied a court ruling which declared the action illegal.

Rere Puputauki, who is the former head of the GIP intervention force and an associate of the opposition leader, has told local television that his action is no different than the occupations carried out by the people now in government.

Mr Puputauki referred to the occupation of the presidential palace and several offices by supporters of President Oscar Temaru in the weeks after the government's ousting in a no-confidence vote in October 2004.

The government has threatened to sack the group blocking the port.

Mr Puputauki set up the blockade, saying the government had failed to honour an agreement that determined which men were to be the guards of a fleet of vessels in the Papeete port.

The French state is responsible to ensure the freedom of movement but has not intervened as hundreds of people are being prevented from going to work and all supplies remain blocked in the dock area.