30 Mar 2011

New Caledonia flag dispute spawns rival rally plans

1:50 pm on 30 March 2011

New Caledonia's Labour Party has called for a demonstration to cherish the Kanak flag this Saturday in a rival action to the rally organised earlier by backers of the Caledonian Union, which has been campaigning for a new flag.

According to Noumea's daily newspaper, the plan for a rival demonstration was triggered by comments by the veteran pro-independence politician, Roch Wamytan.

The Labour Party has now called for a march with many Kanak flags, prompting concerns that the two marches could cause friction.

This comes amid a political dispute over the flag issue which on Friday will see the Congress meet for a third time in a month to try to elect a new government.

The last two attempts led to the immediate resignation of the Caledonia Together ministers as they want a fresh general election.

The Noumea Accord calls for a new flag but the accord signatories decided last year that they wished to fly the French and Kanak flags jointly on all public buildings.

Paris supports the change and last year, the French prime minister, Francois Fillon, hoisted both flags when he visited Noumea.