25 Sep 2018

New Caledonia marks day of citizenship

9:11 am on 25 September 2018

People across New Caledonia have marked the 165th anniversary of France taking possession of the islands.

Kanak and French flags on Ouvea island.

Photo: AFP

On September 24th 1853 Napoleon III annexed the Kanaks' islands, and since 2000 the day is marked as the day of citizenship.

Events have been held in several towns, with Kanak groups using the day to continue to campaign for independence.

Under the terms of the 1998 Noumea Accord, a referendum will be held in November on whether to accede to full sovereignty for New Caledonia to become an independent country.

The accord calls for the decolonisation of New Caledonia and aims to forge a new New Caledonian citizenship.

In 1953, France had granted the people living in New Caledonia French citizenship.

Opinion polls suggest a majority will vote against independence.

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