As talks begin, unrest continues in Martinique, Guadeloupe. coronavirus pandemic news

The protests that began over the COVID restrictions have become calls to address long-standing issues in the French territories.

Protesters looted shops and set up barricades burning overnight in Martinique, French news outlet France Info reported as unrest about coronavirus restrictions raged across the French island region in the Caribbean.

France Info on Thursday published a video of protesters targeting a shopping center and fleeing with goods, as well as videos of protesters setting up barricades burning in the streets.

During the past week in Martinique and neighboring Guadeloupe, protesters took to the streets in protest Mandatory vaccination rules for health workers, a requirement also in mainland France, and other restrictions related to COVID-19.

Protesters set tires and dustbins on fire and blocked roads while police in Martinique got hit by bullets In the midst of unrest this week. officials said on Wednesday that they Captured many petrol pumps Due to concerns about fuel supply.

On Thursday, leaders of 17 trade union organizations that started a general strike in Martinique were meeting with local officials to try to reach a solution.

Apart from abolishing the requirement of vaccination, the protesters have been demanding a wage hike and a reduction in the price of petrol.

In a statement, Martinique officials announced A curfew is being imposed to “facilitate the intervention of security forces” “until peace is restored” from 7 a.m. to 5 a.m. local time (23:00-09:00 GMT).

The statement said the region has experienced “a period of urban, nocturnal violence” since November 22. It also said that 11 people had been arrested and several weapons confiscated, without giving further details.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Lecornu, the French minister responsible for the country’s overseas territories, held a videoconference on Thursday morning with the mayors of Guadeloupe along with other officials “to take stock of the health, safety and social situation”.

Lecornu’s office said a similar meeting is to be held with other regional officials on Friday. Statement, “During these free and open exchanges, the priorities of Guadeloupe youth will be given special attention,” the ministry said.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday announced the creation of a dialogue process to “individually and humanely explain and accompany” health workers expressing concerns about the need for vaccination.

But as protests over the coronavirus began, Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler said people in Guadeloupe have used them to voice their anger about long-standing problems in French territory.

“It’s about many people in Guadeloupe feeling like the French government” [is] was constantly telling them what to do, even though they are about 7,000 kilometers away in Paris,” Butler reported on Thursday from outside a hospital in Pointe-ए-Pitre, where health workers were protesting.

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

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


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