Seven people have already been killed in the unrest in New Caledonia. France has started evacuating tourists. 

France has started evacuating French tourists from New Caledonia. The reason is the ongoing serious unrest.

As the television station BFMTV reported, the first travelers were flown to Australia and New Zealand on board military aircraft. From there, commercial flights will continue to France.

The unrest in the French overseas territory in the South Pacific has been going on for over a week. Seven people have already been killed. France has declared a state of emergency and deployed additional security forces to the archipelago. The riots were triggered by a constitutional change planned by Paris that would give thousands of residents of French origin the right to vote.

However, supporters of independence in New Caledonia, which has a population of 270,000, fear that this would reduce the influence of the original population. The indigenous Kanak people have long hoped for their own state. During his visit to New Caledonia on Thursday, French head of state Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to hold off on reform for the time being until the situation had calmed down and political talks could be resumed.

Nouméa-La Tontouta International Airport has been closed since May 14 and all commercial flights have been canceled since then. Australia and New Zealand had already started flying their nationals out with military aircraft at the beginning of the week.

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