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‘Relatively calm’ night in New Caledonia after Macron visit, authorities say

POOL VIA RETUERS
                                France’s President Emmanuel Macron waves as he boards his presidential plane to travel to New Caledonia at the Orly airport in a suburb of Paris on Tuesday.
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POOL VIA RETUERS

France’s President Emmanuel Macron waves as he boards his presidential plane to travel to New Caledonia at the Orly airport in a suburb of Paris on Tuesday.

Police removed around 100 roadblocks across New Caledonia on Friday after what territorial authorities described as a “relatively calm” night following President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the French Pacific island after over a week of riots.

Around 3,000 police officers and gendarmes are now present on the island, the French High Commission in charge of security in New Caledonia said, adding that 350 people had been arrested so far.

Macron on Thursday hit the pause button on a contested electoral reform that had sparked the deadly riots, pledging to first seek a wider political agreement on the island’s future with all representatives from all parts of the population.

The reform, which Macron said he will push back by several weeks, would allow thousands more French residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to vote, diluting the vote of Kanaks who comprise 41% of the population.

New Caledonia’s international commercial airport will remain closed until at least Saturday when authorities will reassess the situation, according to the High Commission.

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