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17 Nov 2020 | 06:31 AM UTC

Police deploy tear gas against protesters in Noumea November 17

Police deploy tear gas against protesters in Noumea on November 17 amid protests over future of Goro mine; further protests and associated disruptions likely in near term



Additional police have been deployed outside the seat of government in the capital Noumea on Tuesday, November 17, after utilizing tear gas to disperse groups of protesters attempting to block access to the building as protests over the sale of the Goro nickel mine continue. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests. 

Police had to clear roadblocks on Route du Sud on Monday, November 16, after dozens of protesters blocked traffic near the Kenu-In intersection during the morning rush hour, causing several miles of traffic jams in the Dumbea area. Demonstrators have also reportedly blocked access to the port of Noumea.

Participants reportedly intend to hold a rally in the capital on Friday, November 20. 

Further protests and associated security operations are likely in Noumea and other areas in the near term, with a high risk of severe disruptions to overland travel.


Recent demonstrations follow several weeks of occasionally aggressive protests over the proposed sale of the Goro nickel mine in the south of the main island. Recent protest activity has seen a number of roads blocked in and south of Noumea, as well as around the mine site itself. The ferry used to transport workers between the mine and Noumea has also been attacked by protesters. Following assertions that the sale will go ahead, local Kanak-nationalist groups have announced their intention to stage further protests in and around the capital in the coming days.


Those in Noumea are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. Travel south of the capital, particularly around the Goro mine, should be carefully planned in relation to security considerations, with alternative routes and contingency options being identified.

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