13 Jul 2020

French flag banner burnt outside New Caledonia govt building

8:08 am on 13 July 2020

A complaint has been lodged with police in New Caledonia after a fire badly damaged a large tarpaulin displaying the French flag on the facade of the seat of government of the Southern Province.

Firefighters put out the fire, which was lit Saturday night, as the flames risked to damage the building.

The banner was erected by the anti-independence administration to mark the upcoming French National Day on 14 July.

The president of the provincial administration Sonia Backes said this act against a New Caledonian institution and against a symbol of the French republic was not allowed to go unpunished.

In recent weeks, there has been debate about the use of the French flag in view of the independence referendum in October.

Paris authorised its use for the referendum campaign while the pro-independence side it defied the electoral law which bans the use of the flag for party purposes.

Meanwhile, the right wing National Rally party has called for a march from the customary Kanak Senate to the French High Commission to show support for the respect of French law.