Burnt out car in Sainte-Rose, Guadeloupe, in the French West Indies, on November 25, 2021 (AFP / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT)
Police forces and journalists were targeted by gunfire on the night of Thursday to Friday in Martinique, where the violence left ten officers injured and sparked a strong reaction from the government, while in Guadeloupe the prefecture is trying to restore circulation.
About ten arrests took place in Martinique on the night of Thursday to Friday, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. There “have been nearly 150 arrests since the start of this situation in Guadeloupe and Martinique,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal.
Ten members of the police were injured last night in Martinique, five by bullets and five by other projectiles, according to a police source.
“During the night, a police officer who was working with his colleagues on a burglary was violently struck by the looters’ vehicle. He is seriously injured and is operated on that day”, also indicated the Fort-de-France prosecutor’s office. .
Four journalists from the national press, including an AFP photographer, came under fire in Fort-de-France, a good distance from a burning dam.
“This violence and intimidation against the press, whose mission is to report and inform, are extremely serious. Everything must be done so that they do not recur,” responded the director of AFP news, Phil Chetwynd.
The first investigations opened following the violence of the night from Tuesday to Wednesday lead to the presentation of three suspects Friday to the parquet floor of Fort-de-France for immediate appearance.
“These extremely serious acts call for unanimous and unambiguous condemnation,” Prime Minister Jean Castex reacted in the morning: “The Republic will never tolerate attacking the citizens who protect us and who inform us. Justice will prosecute the perpetrators of this unacceptable violence “.
In Guadeloupe, the prefecture said Friday morning that it was carrying out a “gradual reopening of the roads”, tackling the clearance of certain sectors such as that of Mare-Gaillard “for the third time”, in a statement.
The prefecture indicates that “the night was marked by a few non-major incidents”, but announces “three new arrests”.
– Poverty line –
Guadeloupe and Martinique, 120 km from each other, are experiencing a major protest movement, born from the refusal of the vaccination obligation for caregivers and firefighters, which degenerated into a social crisis.
Martinique is the French overseas region least affected by unemployment. However, in 2020, the unemployment rate stood at 12.4%, or 4.4 points more than in mainland France, due to a narrow labor market and a local lack of skills.
The median standard of living of the population is 17% lower than the national level, the poverty rate (29.8%) almost twice as high.
The social movement is accompanied by nocturnal urban violence which pushed the prefect of Martinique to institute a curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Thursday, while the prefect of Guadeloupe extended the one already in progress on the island.
– Break the deadlock –
The authorities have started discussions with unions and elected officials to try to break the deadlock.
The government has indicated that it is considering an “individual solution” for the nursing staff and firefighters of Guadeloupe to be suspended because reluctant to compulsory vaccination, according to the Ministry of Overseas.
He is organizing a meeting on Friday afternoon with the president of the regional council, the president of the departmental council and the parliamentarians of the territory of Guadeloupe.
The elected officials of Guadeloupe have requested the arrival on site “within a fairly short time” of the Minister of Overseas Territories, Sébastien Lecornu, and the opening of a debate on a possible change in the status of Guadeloupe.
According to the ministry, Mr. Lecornu will go “soon on the spot”, but such a trip “must not be organized under pressure and must be part of specific and shared commitments”.
In Martinique, the meeting which brought together yesterday the prefect, the president of the executive council of the Territorial Collectivity of Martinique, Serge Letchimy, and the leaders of the 17 trade union organizations did not provide convincing evidence to reassure the intentions. of the state on the main claims “, according to the latter.
Serge Letchimy met Friday morning the mayors of the island by videoconference to discuss the situation.
“The unions expect the mayors that they too take a stand to demand a de-escalation of violence” in that they insist that the State make “a first strong gesture (…) as a suspension of the suspension of the salaries of people forced to be vaccinated, “a trade unionist who wished to remain anonymous told AFP.
bur-etr / cr / ib / mpm