Unrest continues in Martinique, Guadeloupe as some talks start

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Protests that started over COVID restrictions have grown into name to deal with longstanding points in French territories.

Protesters looted outlets and arrange burning barricades in a single day in Martinique, French information outlet France Info reported as unrest about coronavirus restrictions intensified within the French island territory within the Caribbean.

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France Info printed a video on Thursday of protesters concentrating on a purchasing centre and operating away with items, in addition to movies of demonstrators establishing burning barricades on roads.

During the previous week in Martinique and neighbouring Guadeloupe, demonstrators have taken to the streets in protest of necessary vaccination rules for well being employees, a requirement additionally in place in mainland France, and different restrictions associated to COVID-19.

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Protesters have set hearth to tyres and garbage bins and blocked roadways, whereas police in Martinique got here beneath gunfire this week amid the unrest. The authorities stated on Wednesday that that they had taken management of a number of petrol stations resulting from considerations about gasoline provides.

On Thursday, the leaders of 17 commerce union organisations that launched a common strike in Martinique had been assembly with native authorities in an try and reach an answer.

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In addition to ending the vaccination obligation, protesters have been calling for wage will increase and decrease petrol costs.

In an announcement, the Martinique authorities introduced {that a} curfew was being imposed from 7pm to 5am native time (23:00-09:00 GMT) “until calm is restored” as a way to “facilitate the intervention of the security forces”.

The territory has skilled “a period of urban, nighttime violence” since November 22, the assertion learn. It additionally stated 11 individuals had been arrested and a number of other weapons had been confiscated, with out going into additional element.

Meanwhile, Sebastien Lecornu, the French minister accountable for the nation’s abroad territories, held a videoconference on Thursday morning with the mayors of Guadeloupe, amongst different officers, “in order to take stock of the health, security and social situation” there.

An analogous assembly is scheduled for Friday with different territorial officers, Lecornu’s workplace stated in a assertion. “During these free and open exchanges, particular attention will be paid to the priorities of Guadeloupean youth,” the ministry stated.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday introduced the creation of a dialogue course of to “convince and accompany, individually and humanely” the well being employees who’ve raised considerations concerning the vaccination requirement.

But whereas the protests started over coronavirus curbs, Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler stated individuals in Guadeloupe have since used them to voice their anger about longstanding issues within the French territory.

“This is about many people in Guadeloupe feeling as if the French government [is] constantly telling them what to do, even though they are some 7,000 kilometres away in Paris,” Butler reported on Thursday from outdoors a hospital in Pointe-a-Pitre the place well being employees had been protesting.

“Many people here are saying that they feel Paris constantly treats them as second-class citizens. There are problems with high unemployment here, there are problems with poverty,” she stated.

“For them, in a way, these protests over COVID restrictions are an opportunity to voice their grievances over a number of issues.”

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