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Macron Moves to Declare State of Emergency in New Caledonia

WorldMacron Moves to Declare State of Emergency in New Caledonia

France’s government declared a state of emergency in New Caledonia on Wednesday as it struggled to quell deadly riots in the semiautonomous French Pacific territory.

The French authorities have undertaken what they called a “massive” mobilization of security forces since violent protests broke out in New Caledonia this week over a proposed amendment to the French Constitution that would change local voting rules in the territory. A vote in France’s Parliament approving the amendment on Tuesday ignited riots overnight.

“The priority is to restore order, calm and serenity,” Gabriel Attal, France’s prime minister, told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The French government said that more than 1,800 security officers were already in the territory and that 500 reinforcements would arrive in the next 24 hours. At a crisis meeting, Mr. Attal said that the army was being deployed to secure ports and the airport.

Several businesses and public buildings, including schools, have been looted or set on fire, according to the French High Commission. Three people have died in connection with the riots, officials said, and hundreds of others have been wounded, including 64 police officers and gendarmes, the High Commission of the Republic in New Caledonia said in a statement. It was unclear if the death toll included that of a gendarme, who, the statement said, died on Wednesday.

Nearly 200 people had been arrested by Thursday local time, the statement said, and the Interior Ministry had issued five warrants for people suspected of sponsoring the riots.


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