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Macron Moves to Declare State of Emergency in New Caledonia

President Emmanuel Macron of France convened a crisis meeting on Wednesday and moved to declare a state of emergency in New Caledonia after deadly riots in the semiautonomous French Pacific territory that has long sought independence.

The French authorities have undertaken what they called a “massive” mobilization of security forces since violent protests broke out in New Caledonia this week over a proposed amendment to the French Constitution that would change voting rules in the territory. A vote in France’s Parliament approving the amendment on Tuesday ignited riots overnight that left three people dead.

Mr. Macron met Wednesday with his Defense and National Security Council about the situation, according to a statement from his office. It said he had expressed “strong emotion” over the deaths and gratitude to French security forces. It also said he had requested that a state of emergency be declared for the territory at the afternoon cabinet meeting.

“All violence is intolerable and will be subject to a relentless response” to ensure that order is restored, the statement said, adding that Mr. Macron had welcomed appeals for calm from officials.

France annexed New Caledonia, a smattering of islands with a population of about 270,000, in 1853. The prospect of independence has fueled decades of tensions in the territory.

After armed conflict claimed dozens of lives there in the 1980s — an uprising known as “the Events” — the French government promised change. The territory has held three independence referendums since 2018; all have been voted down.