France Declares State of Emergency, Bans TikTok and Deploys Troops in New Caledonia After Deadly Riots

President Macron of France has declared a state of emergency in New Caledonia following violent protests triggered by proposed changes to voting rules. The territory, which has long sought independence, has been marred by decades of tension, culminating in deadly riots after a parliamentary vote on the constitutional amendment.

author-image
Nimrah Khatoon
New Update
President Macron of France has declared a state of emergency in New Caledonia following violent protests triggered by proposed changes to voting rules.

President Macron of France has declared a state of emergency in New Caledonia following violent protests triggered by proposed changes to voting rules.

President Emmanuel Macron of France convened a crisis meeting on Wednesday and moved to declare a state of emergency in New Caledonia after deadly riots in the semiautonomous French Pacific territory that has long sought independence. The French authorities have undertaken what they called a “massive” mobilization of security forces since violent protests broke out in New Caledonia this week over a proposed amendment to the French Constitution that would change voting rules in the territory. A vote in France’s Parliament approving the amendment on Tuesday ignited riots overnight that left three people dead.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced on Wednesday that France has taken decisive measures in response to the riots in New Caledonia, including deploying troops, imposing a curfew, and banning TikTok. Attal revealed during a crisis ministerial meeting in Paris that soldiers from the armed forces have been sent to secure the ports and airport of New Caledonia. Louis Le Franc, the territory's High Commissioner, requested military assistance and has subsequently enforced a curfew while also prohibiting the use of TikTok.

Why It Matters: The declaration of a state of emergency in New Caledonia and the violent protests over proposed voting rule changes underscore the deep-rooted tensions surrounding the territory’s quest for independence. France’s historical annexation of New Caledonia has fueled decades of unrest, with periodic outbreaks of violence, such as the armed conflict in the 1980s known as “the Events.” The proposed constitutional amendment, expanding voting rights for French citizens in provincial elections, has reignited fears and frustrations among pro-independence activists, signaling a renewed struggle for autonomy in the region. President Macron’s response and the escalation of violence highlight the complexity of the political landscape in New Caledonia and the challenges of reconciling competing interests and aspirations for self-determination.

Key Takeaways:

  • President Macron declares a state of emergency in New Caledonia following deadly riots sparked by protests against proposed voting rule changes.
  • Decades of tensions over New Caledonia's quest for independence have been reignited by the proposed constitutional amendment, which pro-independence activists fear will dilute their movement.
  • The amendment aims to expand voting rights for French citizens in the territory, increasing the electorate by thousands, but has intensified divisions and sparked violent demonstrations.
  • The violence underscores the unresolved issues and deep-seated grievances surrounding New Caledonia's political status, highlighting the complexity of reconciling autonomy aspirations with French sovereignty.
  • President Macron's response reflects the French government's efforts to assert control over the territory while navigating calls for self-determination, emphasizing the delicate balance between maintaining order and addressing demands for greater autonomy.