23 Jun 2006

French Polynesian assailant gets four-month suspended jail sentence

5:14 pm on 23 June 2006

A French Polynesian court has given a member of the rebellious former GIP intervention force a four-month suspended jail sentence for assaulting a senior government official.

The official was assaulted in view of television cameras while trying to go to a port building being occupied by a group defying the government.

The group, which is being led by the GIP's former leader, Rere Puputauki, continues to occupy the building after ending an illegal three-day port blockade.

The government has kept the workers on the payroll despite threatening to sack them for their continued insubordination.

The opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira has repeatedly blamed the government for the stand-off, saying it should negotiate with those who oppose it and warns that there is a risk of clashes.