18 Jan 2008

New Caledonian unionists battle police

10:23 am on 18 January 2008

At least 10 people were hurt when police in New Caledonia used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a strike by transport workers.

Union sources say police intervened to break up a protest near the headquarters of the territory's public transport company Carsud by about 400 workers belonging to a union representing New Caledonia's indigenous Kanak population.

Witnesses say several police cars were torched.

Hundreds of workers were still facing off with police in the streets blocking the toll road into the capital Noumea,.

Public transport in New Caledonia has been disrupted since November due to the strike by the USTKE union which is fighting for one of its

members who was fired to be reinstated.