Tourists stranded by civil unrest in New Caledonia repatriated through alternative routes

Tourists stranded by civil unrest in New Caledonia repatriated through alternative routes
Tourists stranded by civil unrest in New Caledonia repatriated through alternative routes

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - PARIS — In response to the ongoing civil unrest in New Caledonia, tourists stranded in the French colony have begun to be repatriated.

The first group of French tourists departed on Saturday from Noumea's Magenta airfield via a military plane to Australia and New Zealand. From there, they will continue their journey back to France on commercial flights. The capital Noumea's international airport has been closed for over a week due to the disturbances.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Australia plans to send two additional planes later on Saturday to assist Australians still in New Caledonia. The civil unrest, sparked by proposed electoral changes, has escalated, resulting in seven deaths since the riots began last week. The situation worsened after a police officer fatally shot a protester last Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the territory amidst the crisis, promising to delay the controversial voting law changes in hopes of calming the situation.

Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced the extra flights to facilitate the return of Australian nationals. "We continue to help Australians outside of Noumea to travel to the capital, and we are making plans for additional flights onwards to Australia for tomorrow," she stated on X.

Annelise Young, Australia's Consul-General in New Caledonia, noted that 48 Australians and their families had been transported to Noumea from other islands and remote areas of the territory. Earlier this week, hundreds of people, including Australian citizens, were evacuated to Australia on two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flights and a French government flight.

New Caledonia has been under French rule since the 1800s, but there is ongoing resentment among many Indigenous Kanaks, who seek greater autonomy or independence from France. — Agencies


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