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Violent protests erupt in French Pacific territory

Violent protests have erupted over proposed voting reforms in the French Pacific territory New Caledonia.

Cars have been torched, shops looted and shots have been fired at police, authorities said.

A curfew has been imposed in the capital Noumea and the international airport closed, while police reinforcements have been called in.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has called for "calm", saying "violence is never and can never be justified".

Peaceful protests over voting reforms turned violent on Monday night, ahead of a vote in the French National Assembly on Tuesday.

The draft law would change New Caledonia's voting rules to allow French residents who have lived in the territory for 10 years to vote in provincial elections - a move local leaders fear will dilute the vote of the indigenous Kanak population.

Rioters are said to have taken over several roundabouts, attacked police stations and confronted police, who responded with non-lethal rounds.


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