16 Aug 2011

Concerns in New Caledonia of further airport blockades

7:34 am on 16 August 2011

There is concern in New Caledonia that there could be further airport blockades in the Loyalty Islands in an unresolved dispute over air fares.

This comes after clashes ten days ago on the island of Mare where four people were shot dead and more than 20 others were injured.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"More than 140 police have been sent to Mare, among them a large number of investigators trying to establish who fired the fatal shots near the airport. Hundreds of people are expected to be questioned over the violence which erupted after one group of Mare locals blocked access to the airport for more than two weeks, with others trying to dislodge them. The dispute over fare hikes by the territory's carrier Air Caledonie may lead to new disruptions if the protestors fail to strike a deal."

The airline's leadership has urged the government to help resolve the problem as it approves the fares.