PAPEETE PROTESTORS BLOCK GOVERNMENT OFFICES

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Nov. 4) – Protesters carrying signs reading "Legitimate And Peaceful Occupation Of Public Offices" blocked entry Wednesday morning to various French State and local government offices in Papeete.

The offices include the government printing office, the Rural Development Department and the Public Works Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

At the printing office, a group of employees who said they were apolitical appeared to be the origin of the blocked entry. One of them told Tahitipresse, "Today we have two governments and we don’t know whom to obey any more. We decided to express our dissatisfaction in this way. It’s not a blocking; we aren’t preventing people from working."

Claudino Laurent, head of the government printing office, said, "I arrived this morning and I noted the facts. They asked me not to turn on the rotary printing presses. So I contacted the editor of the publication and I went to his office to discuss the approach to take. During that time President (Gaston) Flosse arrived at the printing plant and told the employees to go home."

So the government’s official legal information bulletin, known as "Le Journal Officiel", will not be published on Thursday as scheduled. No new publication date was immediately announced.

At the Rural Development Department, employees found gates closed with padlocks Wednesday morning. Pierre Souvignet, one of the department heads, said, "I took orders from our current (agriculture) minister, Frédéric Riveta, who ordered me to rapidly have a court-appointed bailiff make a report in order to note that the gates are closed and the personnel who want to work is prevented from doing so."

The organizers of the blocked office entrances simply said they were waiting for Nov. 8 when the Council of State in Paris, France’s highest administrative court, is due to hear arguments on a motion filed by Flosse. He is asking the court to invalidate only the Windward Islands (Tahiti and Moorea) results from the May 23 parliamentary elections.

Some 20 persons representing Oscar Temaru’s political coalition gathered in front of the Finance and Public Works Ministry building with banners and signs as they staged a sit-in without blocking access to the building.

Another group of demonstrators seeking the dissolution of Tahiti’s parliament blocked access to the French State’s passport and identity card issuance office and the French State’s office that controls French and local government spendings in French Polynesia.

November 5, 2004

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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