Schools Boycotted in New Caledonia

Associated Press

Primary schools reopened after summer vacation on this troubled Pacific island Friday with about 50% attendance after the Melanesian independence movement called a school boycott.

The Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front said the boycott was part of its struggle to win independence for the French island. The group says it wants to open schools teaching Melanesian rather than French history, and offering French only as a second language.

Secondary schools are due to reopen on Monday.

There were no reported incidents of violence directly related to the boycott, but three houses were burned in the town of Thio, a center of Melanesian activists. The school in Thio did not open, officials said.

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