*** ----> French marines patrol New Caledonia after deadly riots | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

French marines patrol New Caledonia after deadly riots

AFP | Noumea  

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

French marines yesterday patrolled the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, which local authorities said was “calmer” after days of riots over voting reform that have left five dead and hundreds injured.

Military and police “reinforcements will control areas that have got out of our hands in recent days,” said French high commissioner Louis Le Franc, the highest-ranking state official in New Caledonia.

Anger over France’s plan to impose new voting rules has spiralled into the deadliest violence in four decades in the archipelago of 270,000 people, which lies between Australia and Fiji -- 17,000 kilometres (10,600 miles) from Paris.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said Thursday that about 1,000 extra security forces were being sent to New Caledonia -- adding to the 1,700 already present.

They began landing Thursday at the French army-controlled La Tontouta International Airport and could be seen moving through the capital Noumea in red berets, toting rifles, gas masks and riot shields.

France’s EFS blood supply agency said that supplies of blood were being sent over to deal with the “critical” situation.

President Emmanuel Macron cancelled a video conference with local leaders Thursday for lack of willing participants, but began contacting pro- and anti-independence officials individually yesterday, his office said.

Using state of emergency powers, security forces had imposed “a calmer and more peaceful situation” around Noumea for the first time since the unrest broke out on Monday, the high commission said early yesterday. But there were fires at a school and two companies, it added.