Tahiti protest rally marks France’s ‘crime against humanity’ first atomic test in Pacific

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Tahitians protesting over the first nuclear test in French Polynesia 55 years ago on 2 July 1966. Image: Archyde/Suliane Favennec/AFP

RNZ Pacific

More than 2000 demonstrators in French Polynesia have joined a march in the capital Pape’ete to mark the 55th anniversary of the first French nuclear weapons test in the Pacific.

The rally was attended by the pro-independence opposition, veterans groups and the Māohi Protestant Church — some carrying banners declaring a “crime against humanity” — and protested over the first atmospheric nuclear test, Aldebaran, carried out in Moruroa Atoll on 2 July 1966.

It coincided with a French-sponsored roundtable in Paris on the nuclear legacy, attended by President Emmanuel Macron and French Polynesia’s territorial President Edouard Fritch.

France again ruled out an apology for its 193 weapons tests and a minister denied that there had been “lies” by the French state about the tests.

France said it would open its archives but bar access to documents which could aid the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

It dismissed demands to cover French Polynesia’s health care costs for cancer victims, suggesting France would reimburse only cases recognised by France as eligibile for compensation.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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