France lifts state of emergency in territory of New Caledonia

France has lifted the state of emergency in the South Pacific territory of New Caledonia.

The French government had imposed the measure on May 15 in response to large-scale riots. The rampages were mainly carried out by islanders seeking independence.

At one point, the violence resulted in fatalities. Fires were also deliberately set and there was looting, but local authorities say the situation has stabilized. The state of emergency was lifted at 5 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

Pro-independence groups are protesting the French parliament's passage of a bill that expands voting rights. The bill allows people who have lived in the territory for at least 10 years to vote in local elections.

French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to New Caledonia last week, and he indicated that he will postpone procedures aimed at making the necessary constitutional amendment. Observers are waiting to see whether there will be progress in negotiations between the government and political groups seeking independence.

Japan's Foreign Ministry says all Japanese nationals who were visiting New Caledonia and wanted to leave have done so.

The operator of New Caledonia's international airport says the facility will be closed until Sunday.