Thousands rally in Tahiti in protest over nuclear weapons legacy

Ma'ohi Lives Matter
The Ma'ohi Lives Matter anti-nuclear rally in Pape'ete yesterday. Image: FB Association 1933

RNZ Pacific

Several thousand people in French Polynesia have joined a march demanding France own up to the damage caused by its nuclear weapons tests.

The rally yesterday was organised by nuclear veterans group and the pro-independence opposition to mark the day in 1974 when fallout from the Centaur atmospheric nuclear test covered all of French Polynesia.

The protest under the banner Mā’ohi Lives Matter came a week before French President Emmanuel Macron is due for his delayed first official visit to the territory.

A pro-independence parliamentarian, Moetai Brotherson, said that over the years the French tests had contributed to the death of thousands of people yet France refused to apologise for that.

France has ruled out an apology and its government told a roundtable on the nuclear legacy in Paris earlier this month that it never told lies about the testing programme.

The pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru said France had denied the reality for decades, adding that he fought against France’s lies which he likened to terrorism.

In 2018, Temaru’s Tavini Huiraatira Party and the dominant Māohi Protestant Church alleged that the weapons testing amounted to a crime against humanity and referred all living French presidents to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Anti-nuclear protest in Tahiti
The Mā’ohi Lives Matter protest banner. Image: FB Tavini Huiraatira

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


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