THOUSANDS IN NEW CALEDONIA PROTEST HIGH LIVING

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Schools, businesses closed, domestic flights cancelled

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 17, 2011) - Thousands of people in New Caledonia have marched through the capital Noumea in protest against the high cost of living.

The march in the Southern Province is the first of three in a territory-wide campaign led by the USOENC union to push for immediate structural reforms.

According to public radio, the organisers claim more 10,000 people have joined the rally in central Noumea despite rainy weather.

Over the next two days, a march is to be held in the Northern Province and another one in the Loyalty Islands Province.

Many businesses are closed for the day as are some schools, with traffic in Noumea seriously disrupted.

The action has also hampered transport, with radio reporting the cancellation of half of today’s domestic flights.

The strike has also forced a one-day delay of the Auckland to Noumea service.

All key political leaders are In France to discuss a way out of the territory’s political crisis, following four government collapses this year.

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