Authorities take over some Martinique gas stations amid protests

Protests in opposition to COVID-19 curbs, together with necessary jabs for well being staff, are hitting Caribbean island territory.

French authorities have introduced they’re taking management of some gas stations on the Caribbean island territory of Martinique due to considerations over gas provides following days of protests in opposition to measures to restrict the unfold of COVID-19.

Residents indignant over the administration of the pandemic – and particularly over vaccination necessities for well being staff – have in latest days arrange burning barricades and in some instances exchanged gunfire with police.

The vaccine mandate additionally applies to well being staff in mainland France, nevertheless it has touched a nerve among the many majority Black inhabitants in Martinique and the neighbouring island of Guadaloupe.

Some have referred to as the mandate a throwback to the slavery period, insisting they need to be allowed to make their very own decisions about well being remedy.

The Martinique prefect mentioned in an announcement that it was taking on seven gas stations to make sure provide for emergency staff resembling firefighters and ambulances “due to supply risks at gas stations”.

Protesters in latest days have arrange barricades that, in some instances, included burning automobiles.

Local authorities cleared away a number of the particles, a witness informed the Reuters information company, after a union chief referred to as for the barricades to be lifted on account of violence.

Serge Letchimy and Lucien Saliber of the Martinique Territorial Collective (CTM), an administrative physique that runs the island, referred to as for calm and condemned the violence that had taken place near barricades. “We must call on everyone to be calm,” the CTM wrote on its Twitter account.

France’s BFM TV, citing police, earlier mentioned gunshots had been fired for a second night time.

Alexane Ozier-Lafontaine, 21, a Martinique trainer who has joined the protests, mentioned folks have been indignant about points together with the vaccine mandate and the cancellation of a neighborhood vacation.

A girl walks previous a barricade blocking the street resulting in the airport amid unrest triggered by COVID-19 curbs in Fort-De-France, Martinique [Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters]

She additionally mentioned vacationers confronted fewer restrictions on their actions than locals.

“People are very angry about that,” mentioned Ozier-Lafontaine in a phone interview on Wednesday, including she heard gunshots on Tuesday night time.

Protesters are additionally indignant over the usage of a chemical pesticide referred to as chlordecone at banana plantations in Guadeloupe and Martinique. The pesticide has been linked to unusually excessive charges of prostate most cancers on each islands.

Agriculture staff have been for many years uncovered to chlordecone, a state of affairs French President Emmanuel Macron has referred to as an “environmental scandal”, in accordance with French media.

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