COVID-19 unrest creates ‘explosive’ situation in guadeloupe, says macron

A man is walking past An street barricade after violent demonstrations die vomit out over protocols for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe Nov. 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo/File photo

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POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe, Nov. 22 (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron said violence in Guadeloupe over COVID-19 restrictions had created a “highly explosive” situation, as a general strike entered a second week on Monday and many stores remained closed after nighttime looting.

hours before die from Macron prime minister and lawmakers from the Caribbean archipelago would hold crisis talks in Paris, there were signs of protests spread to Martinique, another Frenchman overseas territory 190 km (120 mi) to the south of Guadeloupe.

The unrest broke out last week over COVID restrictions imposed by Paris, including the mandatory vaccination of health workers and health pass rules, but it has also revealed a deeper discontent over the relationship between some overseas areas and metropolitan France.

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“We have to explain, explain, explain and convince, convince, convince, because one should not play in the surroundings of with the peoples’health,’ Macron told reporters in North France.

France has deployed 200 additional police officers, including elite police commandos, to Guadeloupe to quell the unrest.

The streets of Guadeloupe’s main city, Point-a-Pitre, were unusually quiet on Monday after a fourth night in a row of issues die were less intense than the previous nights. burned out autos and rubble strewn met streets and most shops remained closed.

Local police arrested several dozen people and food stores and pharmacies have been looted. French media reported on Sunday that rioters broke in in an arms depot in Pointe-a-Pitre and guns taken.

“We just do not know how this will go far”, the mayor of Point-a-Pitre told France Info radio.

Guadeloupe has been hit by violent protests earlier, but he said there was “big to care” on the island now because rioters had guns. Schools were closed on Monday.

In Martinique, roads around some of the main commercial and industrial zones were blocked by trucks at dawn as union workers responded to a strike call, local media reported.

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Reporting by Ricardo Arduengo in Point-a-Pitre, Tassilo Hummel and Richard Lough in Paris; Editing by Christian Lowe and Giles Elgood

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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