Authorities on the French Caribbean island of Martinique on Thursday ordered the imposition of a curfew after protesters looted shops and erected burning barricades as demonstrations against anti-Corona protocols spread to the French overseas territories.
Violent unrest has engulfed neighboring Martinique and Guadeloupe over the past week after the government imposed stricter measures to stem the spread of the pandemic.
The requirement that all health workers be vaccinated, a measure also in place in France, has increased the feelings of most of the black population of exclusion and marginalization from the mainland.
Protesters are now also calling for higher wages and lower energy prices.
Some described it as a return to the era of slavery, insisting that they be allowed to make their own choices in matters of health care.
In Guadeloupe, where protests began last week, there is a historic mistrust in the government’s handling of health crises after many were systematically exposed to toxic pesticides on banana plantations in the 1970s.
“The police force was on alert all night to restore order and needed to use force to stop the violence and vandalism,” Martinique Police Chief Stanislas Cazel said in a statement. He announced the arrest of 11 people and the confiscation of weapons.
He continued, saying that a curfew would be imposed between seven in the evening and five in the morning, until the re-imposition of order.
And vaccination rates in the French overseas territories, which include islands in the Caribbean and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, are much lower than on the mainland, which has led to longer-term and stricter anti-epidemic restrictions, which led to the outbreak of unrest.
A new wave of the epidemic is sweeping the Caribbean, forcing closures, canceling flights and overcrowding hospitals, at a time when tourism, which is very important to the local economy, is beginning to show signs of recovery.
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