GUADELOUPE - VACCINES

Strike over compulsory Covid vaccination in Guadeloupe turns violent

A protest against mandatory Covid vaccinations in French overseas territory of Guadeloupe
A protest against mandatory Covid vaccinations in French overseas territory of Guadeloupe Cedrick Isham CALVADOS AFP/File

Two firefighters were injured and two people arrested in the French carribbean territory of Guadeloupe on Monday, during the first day of an unlimited general strike against compulsory vaccinations and a health pass.

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Scuffles reportedly broke out between striking firefighters and gendarmes, who charged before being targeted by water cannon.

Other incidents between strikers and the police led to two people being taken into custody for "repeated threats to law enforcement officers", according to the Pointe-à-Pitre public prosecutor.

Maïté Hubert M'Toumo, secretary general of the influential General Union of Guadeloupean Workers (UGTG) described the arrests as a "provocation".

In a statement, she denounced "a serious attack on a fundamental freedom, the right to strike" and called on "all members and activists to reinforce the picket lines".

In a second statement, the UGTG said that employees of several medical and social establishments had also joined the industrial action, as had the employees of several hotels at a time when the tourist sector is approaching high season.

Rush for fuel at petrol stations

Makeshift blockades were reportedly erected across the city, with some witnesses fearing the confrontations will escalate "to a crescendo."

Several petrol stations were shut down by demonstrators, with many motorists storming those that remained open for fear that the strike would affect fuel supplies.

The call for an indefinite general strike was made by a group of trade unions and citizens' organisations in Guadeloupe to protest against imposition of a health pass and the compulsory vaccination of health workers against Covid-19.

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