Violence erupts in Guadeloupe after labor dispute
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Violence has erupted in Guadeloupe after a month-long general strike protesting the high costs of food and fuel.
A union official, Jacques Bino, has been reported killed by armed youths at a barricade in Pointe-à-Pitre, the largest city. Three police officers were injured when they tried to reach the scene.
"He was killed at a roadblock held by rioters, a group of youth who were mostly wearing masks," Prefect Nicolas Desforges told France Info. "He wasn’t killed in a confrontation with police."
Guadeloupe is an overseas department of France. The French government urged calm and called for a meeting between the disputing parties. Workers in Guadeloupe are seeking a $250 per month pay raise.
French Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie said that France is sending 260 National Gendarmerie officers to quell the violence.
Minister of Overseas France, Yves Jégo, said that France has set aside €190 million for increased food, housing, and unemployment allowances in Guadeloupe.
Meanwhile, there are reports that unrest has spread to nearby Martinique.
- "France sends troops to Guadeloupe" — BBC News Online, February 18, 2009
- "1 Killed in Guadeloupe Unrest" — Voice of America, February 18, 2009
- Francois de Beaupuy. "Guadeloupe Rioters Kill One Unionist, French Government Says" — Bloomberg L.P., February 18, 2009
- Associate Press. "French government urges calm in tense Guadeloupe" — International Herald Tribune, February 18, 2009