On Friday 2 July, over 2,300 people marched through the streets of Papeete, Tahiti, to commemorate the anniversary of the first french nuclear test in 1966. The march was organised by the Maohi Protestant Church and Moruroa e Tatou association.
The banners’ slogans are evocative: “Your nuclear power will always kill the Maohi people” or “the DNA of the Maohi people is contaminated”. The marchers contest what the military calls “The secret of defence”. Politicians would rather speak of “raison d’Etat”, a political decision of national interest, but the concept is the same. The marchers blame the French State for having minimised the damage caused by the nuclear tests on populations and environnement. They werke talking of negationism.
Discussions in Polynesia, not in Paris
The march organisers were received by the high commissioner, who is the representative in French Polynesia of President Emmanuel Macron. They want the issue to be discussed in Polynesia and not in Paris. They made it clear that this was not negotiable. On this occasion, the organising association invited the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, to the synod of the Maohi Protestant Church, scheduled for 25 July in Mahina, Tahiti island.
Gaston Flosse at the demonstration
In the demonstration one was surprised to see Gaston Flosse. The former strongman of French Polynesia (89 years old) and great friend of former president Jacques Chirac had been in favour of the resumption of nuclear tests in 1996. He now says that he “did not know”… Tahitian politics is definitely a subtil art.