28 May 2014

New Caledonia police fear more unrest

1:57 pm on 28 May 2014

The New Caledonia police say while clashes near Noumea with young Kanaks opposed to the nearby Vale nickel plant have eased, it is likely more unrest is to come.

The youths are calling for the plant, which has been closed for three weeks after an acid spill, to be closed for good.

About 150 riot police with armoured vehicles have been trying to permanently re-open a key road south of Noumea, which was first blocked on Saturday when the unrest started.

Three police officers have suffered gunshot wounds during the clashes.

A police officer says the situation is now stable and the road is open, but he says the Kanak youths involved might try to block the road again during the night.

"During the night we had some tension, and we had some young teenagers blocking the road. This morning we had some forces that they conduct some operations in order to make free the road, and for the time being the situation is calm."

The police officer says they are yet to make any arrests for the shooting and injuring of police officers.

In Noumea, hundreds of people blocked access to the SLN nickel plant this morning in protest at some workers risking to lose pay because the road blocks prevented them from going to work.