Third night of violence in Guadeloupe as France sends special police forces

POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe: The French overseas territory of Guadeloupe was hit by a third night of looting and rioting amid protests against COVID-19 measures, with gunmen firing at police and firefighters, authorities said on Sunday (Nov. 21). ).

Police arrested 38 people when shops were broken into and cars set on fire.

Special police forces were expected to arrive in the Caribbean archipelago from mainland France on Sunday to restore order.

“This situation cannot be accepted or tolerated,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told Europe 1 radio.

The prefect of Guadeloupe, Alexandre Rochatte, who represents the French government, said in a statement that armed groups had tried to loot shops in Pointe-a-Pitre, Basse-Terre and Lamentin and fight police.

Shots were fired at police and firefighters who tried to extinguish the flames. Four pharmacies were broken into and cars were set on fire, while barricades were erected to prevent security forces from intervening, the prefect added.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Saturday that France would send about 50 members of the GIGN and RAID elite tactical forces from the gendarmerie and police to the area.

Prime Minister Jean Castex will also meet in Paris on Monday with officials from Guadeloupe to discuss the situation.

Rochatte had imposed a curfew from 6pm to 5am on Friday after five days of civil unrest in which barricades burned in the streets and firefighters and doctors went on strike.

Unions launched an indefinite strike on Monday to protest the mandatory vaccination of health workers against COVID-19 and health pass requirements.

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