Violent Clashes in New Caledonia Due to Proposed Nickel Pact

On April 10, violent clashes between security forces and pro-independence protestors have occurred in the suburbs of Noumea, over a proposed pact with the French government to send aid to help the nickel industry, as reported by RNZ. 

Pro-independence protestors threw stones, Molotov cocktails, and discharged firearms. Local security forces used tear gas and arrested multiple protestors. 

The proposed pact would green light around 200 million dollars in French emergency aid, in return, France is asking that New Caledonia “undergo a far-reaching plan of reforms, to make nickel less expensive and therefore more attractive on the world market” according to RNZ. 

Pro-independence movements and pro-France movements have become increasingly polarized since COVID-19, as social and economic conditions degraded during the pandemic. According to the Trafigura Foundation, “one Caledonian out of five lives under the poverty line”.

New Caledonia is an overseas territory of France.