Australian military evacuates citizens as PM cops backlash over indigenous stance

Tensions in New Caledonia boil over as Anthony Albanese cops backlash over 'hypocritical' support of the French government's action against the local indigenous population.

Australian military evacuates citizens as PM cops backlash over indigenous stance
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The Australian military has initiated evacuation flights to repatriate civilians stranded in New Caledonia amid escalating civil unrest.

The unrest erupted on May 13 following a controversial law passed in Paris expanding voting rights for non-indigenous residents, which has led to violent protests and clashes with French colonial forces.

The indigenous Kanak population has been at the forefront of the resistance.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is facing criticism from the Greens and far-left factions within his own party for offering support to the French government to quell the indigenous Kanak uprising.

This controversy is further intensified by the recent failure of his own indigenous voice to parliament referendum in Australia.

Senator Lidia Thorpe expressed her solidarity with the Kanak people via social media, highlighting a broader narrative of indigenous resistance globally.

In response to the deteriorating situation, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has evacuated over 100 tourists from Australia and other countries. On May 21, a Lockheed Martin C-130J aircraft, identified by tail number A97-450, was involved in these operations, arriving in Noumea at 15:14 local time and departing for Brisbane less than two hours later.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has similarly dispatched a C-130 to evacuate around 50 of its citizens.

The violence in New Caledonia has resulted in at least six fatalities, and the deployment of over 1,000 French gendarmes to restore order. The unrest has caused significant disruptions, including the cancellation of commercial flights, stranding an estimated 3,200 people, with around 300 Australian visitors reported to be stuck in the capital, Noumea.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has conducted multiple flights to aid in the repatriation of nationals and other approved individuals. Canberra is prepared to dispatch additional aircraft if needed, pending approval from French authorities.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron has announced his upcoming visit to New Caledonia to address the crisis.

New Caledonia, a French overseas territory, is not only a popular tourist destination but also a significant mining hub, being one of the world's leading producers of nickel.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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