The protests that began due to COVID restrictions have developed into a call to resolve long-standing problems in the French territory.
French news media France Info reported that protesters looted shops and set up burning roadblocks in Martinique all night because of the intensified riots on the French island territories in the Caribbean Sea over coronavirus restrictions.
France Info released a video of protesters aiming at a shopping mall and escaping with goods on Thursday, as well as a video of demonstrators setting up burning barricades on the road.
In the past week in Martinique and neighboring Guadeloupe, demonstrators Took to the streets to protest The mandatory vaccination rules for health workers, the French mainland also has this requirement, and other restrictions related to COVID-19.
The protesters set fire to tires and trash cans and blocked the roads, while the Martinique police Got shot This week is in turmoil.The authorities said on Wednesday that they had Controlled several gas stations Because of concerns about fuel supply.
On Thursday, the leaders of the 17 trade union organizations that launched a general strike in Martinique are meeting with local authorities to try to reach a solution.
In addition to ending vaccination obligations, protesters have been calling for salary increases and lower gasoline prices.
In a statement, the Martinique authorities Announce A curfew will be imposed from 7 pm to 5 am local time (23:00-09:00 GMT) “until calm is restored” to “promote the intervention of security forces.”
The statement stated that since November 22, the territory has experienced “a period of urban night violence”. It also stated that 11 people were arrested and several weapons were confiscated, but did not elaborate further.
At the same time, Sebastien Lecornu, the French minister in charge of the country’s overseas territories, held a video conference with the mayor of Guadeloupe and other officials on Thursday morning, “to assess the health there. , Security and social conditions”.
Lecornu’s office said in a statement that similar meetings with officials from other territories are scheduled for Friday. statement“In these free and open exchanges, special attention will be paid to the priorities of Guadeloupe youth,” the ministry said.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Monday the establishment of a dialogue process to “individually and humanely persuade and accompany” health workers who have expressed concerns about vaccination requirements.
But although the protests started to contain the coronavirus, Al Jazeera’s Natasha Butler said that people in Guadeloupe have since used them to express their anger over the long-standing problems on French territory.
“It’s about Guadeloupe. Many people feel like the French government [is] Keep telling them what to do, even if they are about 7,000 kilometers away from Paris,” Butler reported outside a hospital in Pointe-a-Pitre where health workers protested on Thursday.
“Many people here say that they feel that Paris has always treated them as second-class citizens. There is a problem of high unemployment here, and there is also a problem of poverty,” she said.
“For them, to some extent, these protests against COVID restrictions are an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with many issues.”