New Caledonia Separatist Movement

Pro-independence groups in New Caledonia have started protests against France for the creation of a new nation that supporters call “Kanaky”.

New Caledonia, which has a population of slightly more than 300,000, lies between Australia and Fiji and is one of France’s biggest overseas territories. It forms a key part of France’s claim as a Pacific power.

However, the Indigenous Kanak people have long resented Parisian rule, and say allowing French incomers to vote would hamper its chances of gaining independence.

France, which has increasingly lost influence in its former colonies in Africa, sees maintaining a stronghold in New Caledonia as a key part of its larger vision to maintain a sphere of influence in the region.

French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, and Clipperton are among France’s other overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean while Mayotte and Reunion, along with several others, lie in the Indian Ocean.