11 Mar 2009

Protests at New Caledonia's airport

4:07 pm on 11 March 2009

French police and New Caledonia's hard-line local USTKE union have clashed at the entrance of the French Pacific territory's international airport near the capital Nouméa.

The Kanak and Exploited Workers Union said they were attempting to blockade the airport, as part of a protest against what they described as uncontrolled immigration.

The French High commissioner in New Caledonia, Yves Dassonville told Radio Nouvelle-Calédonie that law enforcement units have managed to secure the airport and to make sure operations are not disrupted.

He said police had to use tear gas to disperse more than 300+USTKE protesters.

The authorities said about two hundred gendarmes had been mobilised.