tahiti: flosse alleges moves over flag, anthem

Former French Polynesia president Gaston Flosse has criticised what he says are plans to change the territory's flag, anthem and annual celebrations. Flosse says it is "paradoxical" that supporters of new president Oscar Temaru want to celebrate colonial statutes of 12 July rather than autonomy measures of 29 June. Temaru supporters have long rejected a red and white based flag associated with Flosse's Tavini Tahoeraa party in favour of another design on a blue and white background. Flosse says Tahoeraa supporters are also annoyed by plans to change the anthem and drop recently introduced presidential awards called Tahiti Nui. These are "symbols which have brought together [French] Polynesians for 20 years. They cannot be serious." "When the majority changes in France, there is no change to the national flag or to the festival of July 14," Flosse told Agence Tahiti Presse.