[Documents menu]History of Polynesia
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 1995 02:09:07 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
Subject: TAHITI UPDATE 9 p.m. PDT
/** disarm.ctb-npt: 237.0 **/
** Topic: TAHITI UPDATE 9 p.m. PDT **
** Written 2:13 AM Sep 7, 1995 by pmeidell in cdp:disarm.ctb-npt **
September 6, 1995 10:30 p.m. Hawaii Time
From: Pamela Meidell/Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Update from the Ta`ta Maohi of French-Occupied Polynesia

By Pamela Meidell, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
6 September 1995

Dear Abolition Friends,

I spoke this evening with an activist in Tahiti about the situation there. Yesterday, after it was announced publicly that the nuclear test had taken place, one of the local unions called a general strike on the island, that began at 12 midnight last night. People began to congregate at the Tahiti airport at Faa'a. By sunrise this morning the airport was entirely blocked. Two international flights at 9 a.m. were cancelled, and police riot forces were called in. They used tear gas to push back the crowd, as well as force. Several people have suffered broken arms and legs, and some have been hospitalized.

Fires were started at the airport. No one claims the responsibility for starting them, but the people of the island say that the French army started them to blame the people, and the army of course says the people started them. At least twenty cars have been burned and turned over. At 6 p.m. tonight, a large building with a thatched roof close to the main terminal was burning. The international flights scheduled for this afternoon and tonight have been cancelled. The only way off the island is by ferry to the neighboring island of Moorea, which has a very small airport for interisland hoppers.

At dusk, 2,000 people were packed in front of the bridge that fronts the airport. The people have occupied the airport and were calling via Radio Tefana for reinforcements to make their way to the airport. The main coastal road from Papeete to Punaviaa and beyond is closed, and public transportation is not operating. One of the two groups occupying the airport is Vahine To'a (literally "warrior women to protect the land"), a newly formed group of women who stormed the Hall of Justice last Wednesday. They demanded that the High Commissioner of the Territory sign a statement calling for the end of the tests. (He didn't.)

Oscar Temaru, mayor of Faa'a and leader of the Tavini Huiraatira (the Tahitian Indenpendence Party), has called for a local referendum of the people to end the testing. He has been in negotiations since early this morning with representatives of the territorial government, along with other local groups. The unions will only talk with French Territorial President Gaston Flosse, and not any other lower governmental representatives. The other groups, including Tavini, are willing to negotiate with other officials. As of 6 p.m., the negotiations were stalled.

The people are unwilling to put up with French decisions that threaten their lives. The activist I spoke with said, "it's not done yet," and believes that the time is ripe for the people of French-occupied Polynesia to demand their independence.

Please fax statements of support to Radio Tefana at +689/82-54-93 or to the Faa'a City Hall at +689/83 48 90, and keep all of them in your hearts and prayers.

Pacifically yours, Pamela Meidell

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