26 May 2014

Policeman shot in New Caledonia unrest

10:16 am on 26 May 2014

The French authorities say a police officer has been injured near Noumea in New Caledonia when young people used firearms against a group of about 80 police trying to remove roadblocks.

The blockades were set up with burning tyres on Saturday and prevented hundreds of people from travelling between Noumea and Mont Dore.

They were put up for the night in emergency accommodation provided by the council.

Police re-opened the access road yesterday, but it's not known if police made any arrests of those involved in the shooting.

The incident at St Louis was triggered after Kanak chiefs in the southern province had called a meeting to discuss whether to call for the permanent shut-down of the Brazilain-owned six-billion US dollar Vale nickel plant at Goro because of yet another acid spill.

While the chiefs deferred a decision on the nickel plant, people in favour of the site's closure decided to close the main road in protest.

The Vale plant has been closed for more than two weeks.

It is not clear if staff will be paid after today.