Release Tahitian unionists!


Five leaders of the Tahitian trade union movement, A Tia I Mua, including general secretary Hirohiti Tefaarere, remain in detention in Papeete. Tefaarere is facing charges that could keep him in jail for up to 20 years. An international campaign spearheaded by the South Pacific and Oceanic Council of Trade Unions is calling for protests to be sent to the French government demanding the immediate release of the unionists and the dropping of all charges. Below is a message from the Queensland Anti-Nuclear Alliance (ANA) to A Tia I Mua. The Anti-Nuclear Alliance calls for the immediate release of all trade union members remaining in custody. We demand that all charges be dropped.
We are deeply concerned at the treatment of the leaders of A Tia I Mua. Amnesty International reports that the people arrested were held for 48 hours without food or water. Henri Temaititahio, a leader of the postal and communications union, was knocked unconscious by police and had to be hospitalised on September 11 suffering paralysis of his left side. Those arrested were handcuffed and stacked face down in a lorry whilst being transported to the police barracks. Outside the police barracks they were forced to kneel with their faces on the ground for 45 minutes.
We condemn the brutality of the French police and will contact the French government to demand an explanation of the treatment of union members.
The Anti-Nuclear Alliance is very inspired by the courageous struggle the trade union federation has waged. Your decision to hold a general strike to protest against French nuclear testing has added enormous weight to the campaign for a nuclear-free and independent Pacific.
The Anti-Nuclear Alliance has mobilised thousands of people in Queensland in opposition to nuclear testing. We will continue the fight against the degradation of the environment of the Pacific and to support the struggle for human rights in Tahiti. We offer our ongoing solidarity with your struggle.

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