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France Blocks TikTok in New Caledonia Amid Violent Clashes

The French government has blocked TikTok in New Caledonia following violent clashes that left five people dead. Civil liberties groups have challenged the decision, calling it censorship. The violence began amid debates over a constitutional reform that could affect the representation of the indigenous Kanak population.
The French government has blocked access to TikTok in New Caledonia following violent clashes that left five people dead and over a hundred injured.

The violence, which began on Monday, prompted a state of emergency in the South Pacific archipelago, an overseas territory of France.

Among the fatalities were two police officers, marking the worst violence in the territory since 1988.

This suspension of TikTok is the first time an entire social media platform has been shut down by authorities in France or the European Union.

French law allows for such measures during state emergencies to prevent incitement or glorification of terrorism.

However, civil liberties groups, including the Ligue des droits de l'Homme and La Quadrature du Net, have filed legal challenges against the decision, calling it censorship and a blow to freedom of expression.

The French government cited the risks of disinformation and foreign interference as reasons for the block.

TikTok expressed regret over the decision, noting that it had not been contacted by local or French authorities regarding content removal.

The clashes in New Caledonia occurred as the French parliament debated a constitutional reform to expand the electorate for provincial elections and referendums.

Pro-independence leaders fear this reform will underrepresent the Kanak population, the indigenous people of New Caledonia.

The region has held three referendums on independence from France, all of which resulted in a majority voting to remain part of France.

The most recent vote in 2021 was boycotted by pro-independence groups.

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