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France to send police to New Caledonia to quell unrest
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10:09, August 06, 2009

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France will send police reinforcements to the remote French-run archipelago of New Caledonia to quell unrest which has affected parts of the French overseas territory in the South Pacific, Radio New Zealand International reported Thursday.

About 30 police were injured during the past week as they clashed with unionists setting up blockades as part of a campaign to free their jailed leader.

Tension in New Caledonia has risen as the skirmishes around the industrial zone of Noumea have spread to Kone, Poindimie and Houialou, outside of the capital city of Noumea, this week.

Police routinely used tear gas to chase away those setting up blockades of offices, businesses and administration buildings, but the security forces suffered attacks with rocks and ball bearings, the radio said.

The conflict at the heart of the strike and violence stems from an employment matter at the domestic airline.

A labor dispute at local airline Aircal that has been dragging on since March has escalated over the past week, with unionists calling for a general strike and daily skirmishes between police and protesters.

Source: Xinhua

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