France Declares State of Emergency for Pacific Islands
French officials declared a state of emergency Wednesday in the small Pacific islands of Wallis and Futuna and sent additional police forces there to help calm what was described as a minor ruckus.
Bernard Pons, the Cabinet minister responsible for France’s overseas territories, said government administrators are involved in a dispute with traditional chiefs on Wallis Island.
About 30 officers were sent from New Caledonia, 1,200 miles to the southwest, to reinforce the five gendarmes normally stationed on Wallis.
Pons said “a certain agitation” arose in Wallis because of a disagreement over administrative personnel. But he called it “a completely minor affair” and said no street demonstrations or other public disorders were reported.
The archipelago of Wallis and Futuna, whose two main islands are about 120 miles apart and have about 10,000 inhabitants between them, became a French protectorate in 1888 and an overseas territory in 1959 after a referendum.
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