SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 3 December 2021, Friday |

Gunshots fired again at police in France’s Martinique – media

Gunshots were fired at police in the French Caribbean island of Martinique for the second night in a row, according to French media on Wednesday, indicating that the unrest sparked by COVID-19 curbs that has rocked the nearby island of Guadeloupe is spreading there.

According to BFM TV, which cited police, the shootings lasted several hours and the situation was still “very tense,” despite trade unions ordering the removal of protesters’ barricades.

Gunfire has also been directed at police in Guadeloupe, where a general strike entered its second week on Monday, and many stores remained closed following night-time looting in protest of the COVID-19 restrictions.

People in Guadeloupe and Martinique have been particularly outraged by a requirement that all healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, which is also in place on mainland France.

In a population descended from slaves who worked on French sugar plantations, compulsory vaccination has struck a chord. Many people on Guadeloupe were also systematically exposed to toxic pesticides used in banana plantations during the twentieth century.

A general strike had also begun in Martinique on Monday to demand an end to the mandatory vaccination of health workers and for action to tackle high fuel prices.

The Caribbean has been hit in recent weeks by a new wave of coronavirus infections that is causing lockdowns and flight cancellations and overwhelming hospitals, just as tourism was beginning to show signs of recovery.