New Caledonia airport reopens after month-long closure during deadly violence

New Caledonia's main international airport reopened on Monday after authorities in the French Pacific territory closed it and imposed a curfew during civil unrest last month that left nine people dead and hundreds more injured.

Both measures were introduced after violence broke out on 13 May over a reform to the voting system that would have allowed long-term residents to participate in local polls.

The archipelago's indigenous Kanaks – who make up about 40 percent of the 270,000-strong population – feared the move would dilute their vote, putting hopes for eventually gaining independence definitively out of reach.

The death toll and injuries mounted as barricades and skirmishes with the police racked up hundreds of millions of euros in damage.

France imposed a state of emergency and boosted the military presence to around 2,000 troops as President Emmanuel Macron travelled from Paris to New Caledonia as part of an effort to calm tensions.

The full resumption of flights at Tontouta airport was made possible by the reopening of an expressway linking it to the capital Noumea that had been blocked by demonstrators, the high commission said on Monday.

Read more on RFI English

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