France will send a total of 16 Centaure armoured vehicles from the gendarmerie to New Caledonia.

Six of these vehicles will arrive next week, with the remaining ten being deployed progressively over the following weeks.

This deployment follows recent unrest in New Caledonia after the adoption of a local electoral body reform, which triggered riots on the archipelago. These disturbances have resulted in seven deaths, including two gendarmes.

La month, New Caledonia experienced significant unrest following a controversial electoral reform imposed by France. This reform allows French residents who have lived in New Caledonia for ten years to vote in provincial elections.

Indigenous Kanak leaders are concerned that this change will reduce their political influence, leading to violent protests and clashes.

The unrest has resulted in multiple deaths and injuries.

In response, France declared a state of emergency and increased police and military presence in the territory. President Emmanuel Macron visited New Caledonia to address the situation and emphasised the need to restore calm and security. He met with local officials to discuss economic reconstruction and the political future of the territory.

Jimmy Naouna a member of the Kanaky-New Caledonia’s pro-independence said President Macron can deploy thousands of troops and military arsenals.

“France will never silence Kanaky aspirations for freedom,” Naouna said on social media platform X.

Neighbouring Pacific nations, including Australia, New Zealand, and Vanuatu, have called for peaceful dialogue and expressed concerns over the regional impact of the riots. Measures taken by the French government, such as deploying additional forces and banning TikTok to limit the spread of unrest, have been points of contention.

To date, approximately 3,500 security personnel have already been deployed to the archipelago, and the Centaure armoured vehicles are expected to support the French security forces in better managing the current situation and helping to restore calm.