France Sends Agents to Guadeloupe to Help Monitor Highly Explosive Condition

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France sends 200 police officers to its overseas department of Guadeloupe, an island in the Caribbean Sea. 50 agents have already arrived there today. Riots have broken out every night in Guadeloupe for a week.

 

The immediate reason is the introduction of stricter corona measures, but the dissatisfaction runs deeper. “The situation in Guadeloupe is very explosive,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

Last night, two officers were injured, and 38 people were arrested after another night of rioting in Guadeloupe. The riots started at the beginning of last week, after a mandatory vaccination for healthcare staff was announced, a measure that has already been introduced on the French mainland. Unions called for people to leave work and take to the streets. Instead, the protests turned into riots for nights on end.

Fires were lit, roadblocks erected, and shops looted. Shots were also fired at officers and firefighters. A curfew has been in effect since Friday between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., but it did not prevent people from taking to the streets during the previous nights.

So many roadblocks were erected yesterday that it is almost impossible to reach many places on the island. Schools in Guadeloupe have remained closed today.

According to French media, rioters also managed to break into a weapons depot in the coastal city of Pointe-à-Pitre, raising concerns. “We don’t know where this will end,” the mayor expressed his concern to France Info. There are also fears that the unrest will spread to the neighbouring island of Martinique. There too, unions have now called for a general strike.

“The situation in Guadeloupe is very explosive,” said French President Emmanuel Macron. He believes that the authorities there should continue to explain the corona measures because “the health of others should not be played with.” Less than half of Guadeloupe’s adult residents have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

But the dissatisfaction with the mandatory vaccination for healthcare staff may be the direct cause of the unrest, and the anger runs deeper. Guadeloupe is in dire economic and social condition. The island, which is heavily dependent on French imports, has seen prices rise for some time, but that has increased due to the pandemic. As a result, one in three young people on the island is unemployed.

The French government is meeting in Paris today with officials from Guadeloupe about the spiralling situation on the French island in the Caribbean Sea.

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