1 Apr 2011

French authorities ban New Caledonia flag marches

2:23 pm on 1 April 2011

The French high commission in New Caledonia has banned tomorrow's planned rival demonstrations in Noumea over the choice of the territory's flags.

It says for security reasons, from midnight tonight until lunchtime on Sunday, gatherings of more than 10 people over the flag issue are prohibited.

This comes after discussions failed to find an arrangement which would have avoided a clash of the itineraries of the two rival demonstrations.

A group advocating the adoption of a new flag had planned the march weeks ago.

However, this week the Labour Party called for a rival march to cherish the Kanak flag.

The Caledonia Together Party, which has pushed the single flag cause, described plans of another march and its timing as an act of intimidation.

The ruling comes amid a third attempt in a month by the Congress to elect a new government.

The flag issue has prompted three government collapses since February.