13 Oct 2006

French Polynesian capital snared in union protest

4:51 pm on 13 October 2006

The French Polynesian government has failed to get a appointment with the French high commission in a bid to end a blockade of Papeete.

A union has cut the main roads to Papeete as part of a strike and protest against high prices, causing traffic jams and disrupting business.

A member of the ruling coalition, Sabrina Birk, says the high commissioner, Anne Boquet, has cancelled a proposed meeting later today with the territorial administration to discuss the crisis.

However, report from Papeete say she received one of the leader's of strike movement.

Ms Birk says there is resentment among many people for the inconvenience caused by the blockades.

But she says it is in the powers of the high commissioner to end the blockades because the French state is responsible for the freedom of movement.

"This is the competence of the high commissioner. We've asked her, this is the competence of the high commissioner and that's why we wanted to see her. We can't have it lifted without her because she has the gendarmes, she has all the security."

Ms Birk says the protesters are made up mainly of public employees from opposition strongholds and include members of the dissolved GIP intervention force.