11 Nov 2014

Second New Caledonia march during Hollande visit

2:48 pm on 11 November 2014

Reports from New Caledonia say another march is planned in Noumea on Monday when the French president, Francois Hollande, makes a brief visit to the territory.


Noumea Photo: AFP

A group claiming to be progressive and for independence says it will march to the French High Commission late on Monday afternoon while two main anti-independence political party umbrella formations plan to march earlier in the day.

The second march has reportedly been called to highlight unease at the slowness of the implementation of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy, which is to end with a referendum on independence by 2018.

The first march, which was announced several weeks ago, has the backing of several pro-French politicians and is aimed at showing Mr Hollande that a majority of the people want to remain French.

Amid deep divisions within the pro-French camp, a leading politician, Philippe Gomes, has dismissed the march as a political stunt, saying Mr Hollande can do no more than re-affirm France's neutrality.

Mr Hollande will spend much of Monday afternoon outside Noumea, visiting the northern province.

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