Shots targeting the police, looting and fires: the French department of Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean, was still blocked on Saturday after another night of violence which originated in the anti-health pass mobilization, in this island where the vaccination meets with strong reluctance.
Here is what you need to know about the situation.
Shooting against the police, the Raid and the GIGN as reinforcements
Pharmacies and telephone shops were the target of rioters during the night from Friday to Saturday. According to the French Interior Ministry, 29 arrests were made.
Some rioters fired live ammunition at a police vehicle in the town of Gosier and at mobile gendarmes in Pointe-à-Pitre, the capital of this department of about 400,000 inhabitants located 600 km north-east of the coast from South America.
In reaction, the government announced the dispatch of around fifty Raid and GIGN agents to the island. In total, 2,250 police and gendarmes are on site.
The incidence rate is exploding
The French Antilles, where vaccination remains in the minority although on the increase, was confronted this summer with a very harsh 4th wave of Covid-19, the incidence rates having reached more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the region. island of Martinique and up to 2,000 cases in Guadeloupe, for an alert threshold of 50 cases.
As of November 16, 46.4% of people over 18 had received at least one injection in Guadeloupe, according to this institution.
“Attack on caregivers”
In a press release released Friday morning, the director general of the Regional Health Agency (ARS), Valérie Denux condemned “the endangering of the lives of Guadeloupe and Guadeloupe and the attack on caregivers”, describing the situation as “Incomprehensible, whereas nearly 90% of the caregivers of the territory are in conformity with the law” which obliges them to be vaccinated.
The origins of the mobilization
The mobilization in Guadeloupe was launched five days ago by a collective of trade unions and citizens against the health pass and the vaccination obligation of caregivers, but it is now coupled with violence committed by rioters.
After a particularly violent night from Thursday to Friday, schools remained closed on Friday and, due to numerous roadblocks, activity is slowing down. That day, the prefect Alexandre Rochatte had announced a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. “given the social movements underway in the department and acts of vandalism”, and prohibited the sale of gasoline in jerry cans.