France sends police special forces to violencehit Guadeloupe

The French minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin, wearing a protective face mask, attend the questions to the government session for a final vote on controversial climate law at the National Assembly in Paris, France, May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

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PARIS, Nov 20 (Reuters) – France sends police special forces to restore order in the French overseas area of Guadeloupe hit by rioting and looting amid protests against COVID-19 protocols, the French said minister from the Interior Gerald Darmanin: on Saturday.

“The first message is that the state will stand firm,” Darmanin told reporters after a crisis meeting on the situation in the Caribbean archipelago with Minister of Overseas Territory Sebastien Lecornu.

Darmanin said France would send about 50 members of the GIGN and RAID elite tactical troops of the gendarmerie and the police to the area, where stores were looted, shots were fired at the police, and 31 people were arrested overnight.

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The extra powers will increase the number of police and gendarmes available in Guadeloupe to 2,250, Darmanin said.

Lecornu said Prime Minister Jean Castex would meet on Monday with Guadeloupe officials to discuss the situation.

The Prefect of Guadeloupe, Alexandre Rochatte, who represents the French government on the archipelago, on Friday had imposed a curfew from 6pm to 5am after five days of civil unrest involving barricades in were on fire in the streets and firemen and doctors walked out on strike. read more

In a bulletin on Twitter referred to vandalism, Rochatte later said damage to electrical works in near dams, especially by one in Capesterre-Belle-Eau caused outages for many customers and warned it meant electrocution risk.

Unions launched an indefinite strike on Monday to protest against mandatory vaccination of health workers against COVID-19 and health pass requirements.

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Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Sophie Louet; Additional reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Jane Merriman and Sandra Maler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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