Suppression of Indigenous peoples at the hands of Western colonizers: The case of New Caledonia and Basque

Deadly violence continued for a third night in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia over a proposed change to France's Constitution that would give voting rights to an increasing number of non-Indigenous residents of the archipelago.

The Indigenous Indigenous Kanak population, who make up about 40 percent of the population, fear the move, which was adopted by the National Assembly in Paris on Wednesday, will dilute their vote and political influence.

About 1,000 extra security personnel are expected in New Caledonia, adding to the 1,700 already there, while authorities have said they will push for “the harshest penalties for rioters and looters”. Five people suspected of organising the unrest, which saw roads barricaded, businesses set on fire and looting, were placed under house arrest on Thursday.

At least five people have been killed since the violence broke out on Monday after a second police officer was killed on Thursday. Three civilians, all Kanaks, have also died, while hundreds of people have been injured.

The violence is the worst in the territory in more than 30 years and follows three failed referendums on independence that were part of earlier political agreements to ensure stability. The last referendum in December 2021 was boycotted by Kanak independence groups because it took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and turnout was only 44 percent.

French TV reports showed stores and cars in New Caledonia that were looted and burned, and citizens, some of them armed with rifles and machetes, clashing with riot police. Plumes of smoke from numerous fires rose over New Caledonia's capital of Nouméa.

At least four people have been killed in the violence, including a police officer who was shot in the forehead at point blank range, according to French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. Citizens have set up road blocks and formed militias to try to protect their neighborhoods. Many residents of Nouméa have barricaded themselves behind closed doors and cower at home.

European colonial colonial states have failed to address their handling of indigenous populations not only in other continents, but also within Europe, including the Basque peoples, an ethnic groups indigenous to the western Pyrenees, are a nation and promotes the political unity of the Basques, spread between Spain and France. 


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