Noumea was peaceful when French President Emmanuel Macron arrived for his first official visit last month. But in the early afternoon, cries echoed down the streets as about 20 indigenous Kanaks wielding banners marched through Place des Cocotiers, a park ringed by boutiques and cafes.
Macron was keen to win hearts and minds in the far flung South Pacific territory. One gesture was his formal return of the official deed by which France took colonial possession of the islands in 1853. While well received, the small group of protesters wanted the document handed directly to the Kanak people, rather than the government.