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President Emmanuel Macron

President Emmanuel Macron Addresses Unrest in New Caledonia, Vows to Restore Order

New Caledonia, May 23, 2024, The Europe Today: In an urgent visit to New Caledonia on Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron met with local officials to seek a political solution to the ongoing violent unrest in the South Pacific French archipelago. Describing the turmoil as an “absolutely unprecedented insurrection movement,” Macron emphasized that French police reinforcements would stay in New Caledonia as long as necessary to stabilize the region.

“In the coming hours and days, massive new operations will be scheduled where necessary, and republican order in its entirety will be re-established because there is no other choice,” Macron declared in the capital, Noumea. His visit follows over a week of violent riots that have resulted in six deaths, hundreds of injuries, and widespread damage, including looted shops and torched cars and businesses.

Upon arrival at La Tontouta International Airport, Macron underscored that restoring calm and security was the top priority. “We will discuss questions of economic reconstruction, support, and rapid response, and the most delicate political questions, as we talk about the future of New Caledonia,” he said. Although Macron expressed his opposition to extending the current state of emergency, he stated that it could only be lifted if all political leaders called for the removal of barricades and roadblocks.

French authorities have declared a state of emergency, placed separatist leaders under house arrest, banned alcohol sales, and deployed approximately 3,000 troops, police, and other security forces in response to the unrest. Macron noted that decisions and announcements would be made by the end of the day regarding further actions.

The escalation of security measures in New Caledonia highlights the region’s significance to France, particularly as the country prepares for the upcoming Paris Olympics and Paralympics. This increased focus on maintaining order in the archipelago may pose challenges for security at home, further underscoring the strategic importance of New Caledonia to France.