Last night, I must admit, I went to bed feeling very uneasy. The rouleurs had announced the road blocks would return at 4am. The FLNKS (pro independence movement) had called all Kanaks to counter protest the rouleurs by blocking access to most mines. All schools in Noumea had been cancelled. There was a limit on how much bread and gas you could buy. The Rouleurs had declined a meeting with the government calling it a day of mourning after the death of the young man. And the government had released a statement saying that, “the time for negotiations had past”. Things were looking very bleak.
I am not so sure what happened overnight. But, this morning there was only 1 blockade left. The city of Noumea was open and things seem a bit better. In the North the Palika ( a larger group representing 3 smaller groups) are blocking several mines, including ones not far from here and Vale Goro in the South. There is still no resolve to the conflict. There was a large protest in Bourail and again now at noon in Noumea protesting the blockades. The Rouleurs are calling for a mediator and an expert to review the mining accord. There has yet to be a response from the government.
We, are left moderately affected. I spent the weekend stocking up on groceries and household goods. There was a limit on gas and there is no flour, sliced bread and limited beef in the stores. Theo’s formula is in limited supply and there are empty spots on the shelves. While the Catholic school is closed today, Seth’s school was open. And colleges (middle school) and lycées (high schools) had no dormitories open last night.
So we wait. Will the road blocks resume? Will they reach a comprise or understanding? Will there be two sets of different blockades and protesters? No one knows. And like everything else in New Caledonia we wait, and my infinite island patience gets put to the test again.