One person shot dead in New Caledonia unrest: official

A fire in the street after a supermarket was looted and shops vandalized in the N’Gea district of Noumea, May 14, 2024. /CFP

A fire in the street after a supermarket was looted and shops vandalized in the N’Gea district of Noumea, May 14, 2024. /CFP

One person was shot dead and two others were wounded on Tuesday night as violent protests and looting rocked New Caledonia, according to the high commissioner of the French Pacific territory. 

“Of the three wounded admitted to emergency, one is dead, the victim of a gunshot,” High Commissioner of the Republic Louis Le Franc told reporters, adding that the deceased was not from the police or the gendarmes.

Unrest erupted Monday in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia as protesters demonstrated against a constitutional reform being debated in the national assembly in Paris that aims to expand the electorate in the territory’s provincial elections. 

Local authorities on Tuesday announced a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. following overnight riots.

Under the Noumea Accord signed in 1998, the French overseas territory was granted the right to three referendums on its future political status.

All of the three referendums, held in 2018, 2020 and 2021, rejected independence.

The pro-independence Indigenous Kanaks rejected the result of the last referendum, held in December 2021, which they had boycotted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABC News reported.

The latest voting reform, which triggered Monday’s violence, proposes the residency requirement to qualify for New Caledonian citizenship to be reduced to 10 years.

(With input from agencies)