on a filter dam in Nouméa with armed residents | EUROtoday

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” VS'is tiring, but we deal with it. » Since the start of the riots in New Caledonia, Adèle*, in her thirties, has divided her time between her family and the barricade in her neighborhood in Nouméa. “Generally, we do shifts. We alert on everything, comings and goings, passing cars, barking dogs… This allows residents to be warned if necessary, if there is anything at all. »

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These barricades are fabricated from regardless of the inhabitants might discover. “We mainly have household items. We put washing machines, freezers, pallets, wooden planks, barbed wire. We have boards with nails that we fixed on the road. We also have a car in front with barbed wire all around and blocking the way. We barricaded ourselves so that it was impossible to pass by car. »

On the ground, the mother is not alone. “I arrived with my husband in the morning to take over. There are many of us, which allows us to support each other, not to be alone and to reassure each other. Because if there are two of you, it's not the same as if there are twenty! Since Monday, we have heard the detonations, we have seen the smoke, the lights…”

Adèle goes via four-hour rounds. Although every day life is somewhat peaceable, vigilance is required. “Men in cars wanted to pass a roadblock but we pushed them back because no one was coming in. If no one told us “I’m coming in with such and such a car, such and such a plate”, we don’t let individuals in. They simply need to go round, they only need to go elsewhere. »

“We have hunting weapons on the dam, but it’s more to deter than anything else”

“We have a former police officer who gives us instructions: be careful, stay right behind, don't provoke, respect the law, well, we're really experienced. » However, surveillance is risky. “We have weapons on the dam, hunting weapons. We also have slaughter sabers, but it's more to deter than anything else. We received instructions from comrades and team leaders: weapons are only for those who know how to use them. We have bulletproof vests, we have everything we need. The goal is not confrontation, it is to dissuade. If that doesn't work, we run away and we go to protect ourselves in the houses, we barricade ourselves and we warn everyone. »

Peace remains essential. “There are certain roadblocks in the city that have put up white flags and that’s what we’re going to do. We want to protect our families, we have children, babies, elderly people. We want to protect our property. »

Providing assistance and helping your neighborhood are the stated objectives. “If someone needs help, we've set our own codes so we know where that person is and we'll all help. »

“We are here, protecting our own neighborhoods, because there are not enough reinforcements. »

These last few days have been difficult for Adèle. “We try to stay the course because we also have our families to manage. We have to stay focused even though we are tired and stressed. We are hungry but we ration because it is complicated to find food. It's constant stress. Sleeping is difficult because as soon as there is a noise, you wake up. And then, we have to manage the children's fear and worry, and reassure them. »

A real closeness between the watchmen has been established. “The good thing about all this is that there are a lot of us. We are of different ages and cultures so we find comfort with older people. Advice also from younger people. It feels good. »

On the other hand, Adèle expresses a feeling of abandonment by the State. “We are here, protecting our own neighborhoods, because there are not enough reinforcements. We're a small island, it wasn't supposed to degenerate like this! It's such a mess that we wonder why someone didn't come and protect us before. Even if there is a 24-hour flight, when you feel that things are tense and especially before the vote in the Assembly, we knew the date, so why didn't they make sure to send more gendarmes ? For the 3e referendum, squadrons had come expressly precisely to maintain order. »

“As for food, with solidarity, we can get by, but care? »

Behind her barrier, the young mother also talks about access to care. “Moms are asking here and there because they no longer have infant formula. There are no more diapers. For babies, it’s serious! Pregnant women have to ask on discussion groups “please, I'm full term, is there a midwife? How am I going to give birth?” “The MédiPôle is blocked, the clinic now not takes emergencies. As for meals, with solidarity, we are able to get by, however care? If there may be an previous particular person, a toddler or another person who is just not effectively, what can we do? »

If the night time from Thursday to Friday was somewhat calm, on the Adèle dam, we’re dreading the night time to return. “We should not let our guard down. It's an extra stress as a result of we all know that behind the calm lies the storm. We are much more looking out. The slightest noise, we stand up and name everybody to seek out out what's occurring and we keep knowledgeable. But we truly dread tonight's night time, each night time in truth. »

* Adèle is an assumed first identify.