Protesters in New Caledonia target state vax mandates, health card

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A Noumea demonstration over mandatory vaccination against covid-19
A Noumea demonstration over mandatory vaccination against covid-19 and against the health pass Image: Clotilde Richalet/Hans Lucas/RNZ Pacific

RNZ Pacific

An estimated 1000 people in New Caledonia joined a protest march against the French government’s policies to fight the pandemic.

The unauthorised march in Noumea was held just a day after the government imposed a limit of 30 people for any outside gathering.

Police said that while the meeting was illegal, they did not intervene because many children were in the crowd.

However, according to the public broadcaster, police used teargas after the end of the rally to disperse some demonstrators.

The march was called to oppose a health pass required to enter venues, such as restaurants and museums, and to protest against the law making vaccinations mandatory.

The law, which is yet to be applied, was adopted last September just days before the territory’s delta outbreak, which rapidly infected thousands and killed more than 280 people.

Last Thursday, the first cases of the omicron variant were detected, renewing calls by the authorities to be prudent as the virus is expected to raise infection rates.

From yesterday, vaccinations have opened for children aged five and older.

Children aged 11 and older must wear masks in indoor settings.

About 65 percent of New Caledonia’s population has had at least two jabs, making it the most vaccinated French Pacific territory.

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

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