La vie chère

For the last 11 days New Caledonia has been on general strike. Intersyndicale contre la vie chère are protesting what is commonly referred to as “la vie chère” or in English the high cost of living. According to the local paper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes people pay 35% more for goods in New Caledonia compared to France. It is true that things are very expensive here. At first I had sticker shock but because you have to live you eventually swallow hard and buy what you need.
Throughout the week there have protests in Nouméa and Koné. Thousands of people have protested saying the cost of living is just too high.
Yesterday in Koné all the gas stations went dry and last night in Nouméa most were empty. The roundabout by Téari was blocked with burning tires and people making it slow moving and the grocery store inaccessible. The border between the southern province and northern province on route 1 in Poya, was blocked for most of the day yesterday, not allowing passage of vehicles until after dark last night. And again today it is blocked and from accounts on Facebook they are not allowing hundreds of vehicles to pass. Flights have been cancelled at the airport or some rerouted and large supermarkets blocked. There are ongoing meetings between the intersyndicale and the Haut-Commissariat( the government) but so far no new plan of action has been agreed upon.
It has been an interesting few days in New Caledonia. I continue to watch and follow the news. I wonder what will come of it? How long will it all last?I will keep you posted.

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Photo taken by NC1ÈRE Philippe Huneau

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