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Retro anti-colonial uprising rocks French Pacific territory

In a total throwback to the mid-20th century anti-colonial uprisings and conflicts that largely ended the once-vast global empires of the European powers, the French government in 2024 is rushing to contain an outbreak of violence on the distant Pacific island territory of New Caledonia, as unrest sparked by a pro-independence movement among the native Kanak people has led to rampant arson, looting, and violent clashes that have left at least five dead, the AP reports.

French President Emmanuel Macron has declared a state of emergency lasting at least 12 days and sent 1,000 troops the island of 270,000 lying about 900 miles northeast of Brisbane, Australia. It’s not the first rodeo there as the last time France imposed a state of emergency was in 1985. The freedom fighters’ main gripe is the National Assembly in Paris this week passing a law allowing residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years to cast ballots in provincial elections, which seriously pissed off the Kanaks. The indigenous group comprises a roughly 40 percent plurality in the territory but fear the Metropolitan French are purposely encouraging more people to relocate to the colony to water down Kanak political power. Complicating matters is some Azerbaijani fuckery, as France has (with evidence) accused the grimy former Soviet state of supporting the Kanak nationalist movement in retaliation for French support of the Azeris’ hated rivals in Armenia.

Under the mess is a large deposit of nickel, crucial to EV battery production. Above it is the simple fact that, unlike most other French territories in the Carribbean, South America, and the Indian Ocean, New Caledonia is not fully integrated, although residents are enfranchised in the presidential and European Parliament elections. It’s on Paris to invest in the people with exceptional political and economic generosity if they want to hang on to the islands, and it’s on the Kanaks to demand a very, very large percentage of the royalties from nickel extraction disbursed onto debit cards with their national flag on it. The other option might seem awesome at first, but probably ends with a shit ton of Chinese communist navy personnel calling the place home by the end of this decade.

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