20 Jun 2006

Clash at French Polynesian port as rebellion continues

3:32 pm on 20 June 2006

Reports from French Polynesia say there has been a violent clash in the port of Papeete where rebellious workers loyal to the former head of the GIP intervention force have attacked other staff.

This comes two days after the men loyal to Rere Puputauki lifted an illegal blockade of the only bridge leading to the port which left hundreds of people out of work and crippled supplies.

Local radio reports say charges may be laid after the interim head of the local government's fleet was forced to flee after being assaulted by Mr Puputauki's men.

Mr Puputauki and his supporters have set up blockades with impunity several times since he was replaced as head of the GIP last year.

The French Polynesian government has described the blockades as a rebellion and has warned that it may sack the dozens of employees who defy orders.

It also says the current disturbances may be linked to President Oscar Temaru having flown to Paris.