News Americas, Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, Tues. Nov.30, 2021: Guadeloupe remains under a curfew as the French government said it will send police reinforcements, including an elite SWAT team, to the island today.
The local prefecture said that a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. would be extended until Dec. 2. as unrest spills into the third week.
Police have been shot at and stores looted in protests against plans to make vaccination for health workers compulsory, which have fanned long-running grievances over living standards and the relationship with Paris.
Overseas Territories Minister Sebastian Lecornu, who Paris dispatched to defuse the crisis at the weekend, said 70 police reinforcements would be sent today along with 10 extra SWAT team members to help shore up security.
In Guadeloupe, there is a historic mistrust of the government’s handling of health crises after many people were systematically exposed to toxic pesticides used in banana plantations in the 1970s.
Protesters have insisted they should be allowed to make their own choices about health treatment.
Lecornu said on Saturday that the government was ready to discuss autonomy for the islands.
“It’s not a dirty word in the Republic. (French) Polynesia is autonomous today with its own laws, so the minister is ready to open the debate,” the official said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: (Reuters News Contributed to this story.)