HomeWorldFrance cancels Olympic torch relay due to riots

France cancels Olympic torch relay due to riots

The unrest in New Caledonia, the French overseas territory, continues even with the extensive police deployment, the presence of the Army and the emergency declaration issued by Paris.

The indigenous people of the French territory of New Caledonia rioted against Paris' attempt to give voting rights to all long-term inhabitants, including Europeans, as they see it as a continuation of colonial policy and fear being in a minority. 

“The French do not want to give up their empire. "They want to keep their colonies, and [the president of France] Emmanuel Macron does not want to be the one who loses another territory," expert on the Asia-Pacific region, KJ Noh, told Sputnik.

French police reinforcements have begun arriving in New Caledonia amid ongoing unrest and as France has lost control over parts of the island, the high commissioner for the archipelago, Louis Le Franc, said. 

According to the high commissioner, these reinforcements should allow the authorities to “recover all the spaces in the agglomeration that we have lost and that we must recover as soon as possible.”

The French authorities decided to cancel the Olympic torch relay in New Caledonia, a French overseas territory located in the Pacific, due to the unrest in this region, the 'BFMTV' channel reported, citing sources, Sputnik reports.

According to the planned program, the Olympic flame relay should cover a distance of 12.000 kilometers and reach Paris on July 26. 

Furthermore, it should be the first time that the symbolic torch passed through New Caledonia, “by mountain bike, on horseback and by canoe.” 

Traditionally, the Olympic torch relay marks the start of the Olympic Games and conveys a message of peace and friendship throughout its journey. 

The French National Assembly voted on May 15 to extend the right to vote to people who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years. Currently, this right is only available to those who were added to the list of voters at the time of signing the Noumea Agreement in 1988as well as their children

The event triggered riots in the archipelago that caused casualties, forcing Macron to declare a state of emergency.

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