The French government showed its firmness on Tuesday in the face of the violence which continues in Guadeloupe despite the reinforcements of the police. And he is now monitoring a possible contagion in neighboring Martinique, where police and firefighters have been targeted by gunfire.
Guadeloupe, where a third of the population lives below the poverty line and where unemployment is high (19%), has been shaken for several days by a movement originating from the challenge of the vaccination obligation of caregivers, which has degenerated in a social crisis punctuated by numerous violence with barricades, looting and fires.
It has been eight days that a strong social protest crosses the island. A general strike was launched by the Guadeloupe unions against the health pass and against the vaccination obligation for caregivers which is in force in France.
“The situation is still very difficult” in Guadeloupe, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told France Inter on Tuesday. “What is certain is that the reestablishment of public order is the prerequisite for any discussion, of course,” he thundered.
Creation of a dialogue instance
Faced with this violence, France’s first response was primarily security. Some 2,200 police and gendarmes were sent to Guadeloupe as reinforcements, including members of the elite GIGN unit. But in an attempt to calm the situation in hospitals, the French Minister of Health has devised an alternative solution: caregivers hostile to messenger RNA vaccines could use a conventional vaccine if they so wish.
In addition, a videoconference meeting Monday in Matignon around Jean Castex, in solitary confinement after having tested positive for Covid-19, resulted in the creation of a “forum for dialogue” in order, according to the Prime Minister, to “to convince and to support individually, humanely”, the professionals concerned by the vaccination obligation.
A decision which, however, did not convince in Guadeloupe where the unions at the origin of the mobilization regretted not to be associated with the initiative. “Of course we continue the mobilization. We did not expect much from Castex and the Macron government, so we are not disappointed” with the result of yesterday’s meeting, says a member of the collective who called for the general strike.
>> The subject of La Matinale on the situation in Guadeloupe:
Violence also in Martinique
Discontent has now spread to Martinique where a general strike began on Monday, a week after the one launched in Guadeloupe. Police and firefighters have in turn and repeatedly been targeted by gunfire during the night of Monday to Tuesday in Fort-de-France. No injuries are to be deplored. But major roadblocks block the main roads of Martinique.
The inter-union at the origin of this general strike, however, called for the lifting of the roadblocks, announced Bertrand Cambusy, secretary general of the CSTM. However, this call does not guarantee that all roadblocks will be lifted quickly, and that the clashes will cease, some of them being manned by non-union people.
afp / fgn