INTRODUCTION: The Pacific island colony of France, New Caledonia, has been tense following the shooting of independence leader, Pierre Delercq.
GV PAN Noumea
SV People in streets
SV Graffiti on walls (2 shots)
GV Gates of High Commission Offices with police guard
GV Graveyard PAN TO independence leader Pierre Delercq's grave covered in flowers
CU & SV Wreaths
GV ZOOM IN TO French factories (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Pacific island colony of France, New Caledonia, has been tense following the shooting of independence leader, Pierre Delercq. Authorities feared that the funeral of the murdered leader would turn into a major confrontation with independence groups, but the occasion passed without serious incident.
SYNOPSIS: New Caledonia was originally a convict settlement with France sending criminals and political prisoners there until a few years before the start of the century. Vast tracts of the best land were settled by the white farmers, and the Melanesians hold only about 35 per cent of the land in special reserves. Tension has persisted over this issue. Over the past few years France, faced independence demands, started buying back the land and distributing it to the poorer Melanesians.
Moves for independence are gaining strength, with various groups lobbying the French authorities. The town of Noumea is tense, and tight security was in operation during Delercq's funeral. Gendarmes were patrolling strategic points throughout the capital to safeguard against violence.
Delercq's grave is covered in floral tributes, many with political messages. The murder is seen as the first important reaction from traditionalists. With armed bands supporting various viewpoints in open shows of strength throughout the country, the situation is tense. Tourists returning to Australia have reported brushes with these bands and one tourists said he feared for his family's life.