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HomeVideoWATCH: Deadly protests erupt in French territory of New Caledonia

WATCH: Deadly protests erupt in French territory of New Caledonia

At least five people are dead and dozens injured after a week of violent protests in the French territory of New Caledonia.

The protests are in response to a new law proposed by France that would allow anyone living the territory for at least 10 years to vote in local elections. The move comes as French President Emmanuel Macron seeks to increase French influence in the Pacific to combat China’s attempts to strengthen its own power in the region.

New Caledonia‚Äôs indigenous Kanak people, which make up the largest single demographic of its population, say the new law will dilute their voices in the territory’s semi-autonomous government.

France declared a state of emergency in response to the latest violence and rushed 1,000 armed security forces to join the 1,700 police officers already present.

France annexed New Caledonia, located off the eastern coast of Australia, in 1853. The territory was a penal colony before nickel was discovered and a major mining operation began. New Caledonia was formally made an overseas territory after World War II. After a deadly uprising against French rule in the 1980s, France agreed to give New Caledonia more independence, including more power for local government.

As a result of the latest protests, more than 200 people have been arrested. Officials have imposed an overnight curfew and banned the popular social media app TikTok. Both French and New Caledonian leaders have urged for calm.

This post was produced by Tim McPhillips, Julia Griffin and Dan Cooney.
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