Please note that this is an unofficial translation of the original L’UTSKE original press release.

Union Syndicale des Travailleurs Kanak et des Exploités

“The Confederation of the Future”

BP 4372 – 98847 Nouméa – Tel: 27.72.10 Fax: 27.76.87


Nouméa, May 16, 2024

Press Release from the Confederal Bureau of USTKE

The events that have been unfolding since Monday, May 13 in the capital and the greater Nouméa area are of extreme seriousness.

The central government bears a great responsibility for what we are experiencing today despite numerous previous mobilizations without outcomes to demand the removal of the freezing of the electoral roll and the negative opinion of the majority of the Congress members. Instead, it chose to continue this legislative procedure with the support of the local right-wing and its parliamentarians.

Nevertheless, our local political formations are partly responsible for the social situation of the population, which is expressing itself violently today.

USTKE asserts that its political and social struggle is part of a societal project for an Independent Kanak and Socialist nation, in dignity and respect.

On Monday, May 13, USTKE engaged in a 24-hour strike at the Tontouta Airport and the Autonomous Port of Nouméa to denounce the perpetual failures to consider local employment and the rebalancing that will persist with this freezing of the electoral roll and consequently amplify the difficulties of integrating our youth into employment.

USTKE understands the great frustration, legitimate as it may be, of being “left out” in a colonial capitalist system but strongly deplores the recent vandalism and destruction of signs, local shops, which will exacerbate the social and economic chaos for our populations. Behind these burnt and destroyed businesses, it is also employees, mothers and fathers of the country, many of our families who are losing their jobs and their wages.

Thus, USTKE greatly expresses its solidarity with all affected employees and supports impacted businesses.

In the coming days, we will be able to see and for a long time the social drama that is unfolding before our eyes and which will impose itself on the entire population. The consequences are major for our elderly in their daily lives but also for all workers when their work tools are destroyed.

Given the already complicated economic situation, families will find themselves without resources. The impact will be considerable on our social security funds and the quality of care that will result.

Deaths have already been deplored, and to calm tensions and stop all collateral damage, USTKE calls on mobilized populations to regain their composure and calm down, for all antagonists to cease physical attacks or insults towards individuals, to respect public and private buildings, health facilities, business premises, and others.

Regarding these serious current events, we can also read a policy of denigration and marginalization of this Kanak youth, long perpetuated and desired; USTKE has long sounded the alarm on the issues encountered by our youth to integrate into the professional and social world, and thus to continue on the path of rebalancing, the objective of the Nouméa Accord aiming at reducing social inequalities and economic development.

Facing this feeling of revolt, USTKE will continue its demands towards political authorities, customary actors, social partners for the consideration of youth integration issues, as it has always done for over 40 years.

USTKE also strongly denounces the formation of armed militias who, with the complacency of certain law enforcement agencies, take the opportunity to commit crimes.

Furthermore, USTKE questions the planning and actions of the High Commissioner’s Office and the law enforcement that led to tragic human losses, including young people and a gendarme, which is simply intolerable.

USTKE also demands that full light be shed on the deceased victims of the past 48 hours.

Finally, USTKE extends its sincere condolences and solidarity to all bereaved families and a supportive thought to all those parents in great difficulty to meet the basic needs of their families.

We will conclude with this quote from a great man, Nelson Mandela: “It is very easy to break and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”

The Confederal Bureau of USTKE

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