The government wanted to be firm on Tuesday in the face of the violence that continues in Guadeloupe despite police reinforcements, while playing appeasement with a “forum for dialogue” aimed at responding to the social crisis linked to the anti-Covid vaccine obligation.
Guadeloupe, where a third of the population lives below the poverty line (INSEE) with a high unemployment rate (19%), has been shaken for several days by a movement originating from the challenge of the vaccination obligation of caregivers, which degenerated into a social crisis punctuated by numerous violence with barricades, looting and fires.
“The situation is still very difficult,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on France Inter on Tuesday.
“What is certain is that the restoration of public order is the prerequisite for any discussion, of course,” he thundered, indicating that the gendarmes had been the target of live ammunition.
“More than 90 arrests” and “more than 60 police custody” have taken place since the start of the crisis, said the Minister of the Interior, while 250 police and gendarmes, including 50 from GIGN and Raid, have were sent as reinforcements over the weekend and a curfew was put in place from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
For him, “if we accepted the demand of a violent and active minority which consists in saying + no vaccination in Guadeloupe +, we would de facto accept that the Guadeloupe population is less well protected against a disease than the rest of the population”.
According to Sébastien Lecornu, Minister for Overseas Territories, the violence is the act of “people who are unfortunately already unfavorably known to the police or the courts, who are using this crisis to express themselves in violence”.
“We can see that we are not on a health and social issue,” he assured France 2.
The day before, President Emmanuel Macron had denounced those who use “the health of French women and men to wage political battles”.
– “Dialogue body” –
The Pointe-à-Pitre prosecutor Patrick Desjardins confirmed to AFP on Monday press information on the theft of weapons and ammunition at the coast guard station of the Pointe-à-Pitre Customs, during the night from Friday to Saturday, without giving more details.
To break the deadlock, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Monday the creation of a “forum for dialogue” in order to “convince and support individually, humanely”, the professionals concerned by the vaccination obligation, to the resulting from a meeting with elected officials.
The unions behind the mobilization deplored not being associated with the initiative.
With caregivers, “we are also in a social dialogue between the employer, the Ministry of Health and Solidarity, and its employees to find solutions”, so “we committed last night to find other types of vaccines “for people who refuse those to messenger RNA,” Lecornu said.
The vaccines available so far in Guadeloupe were “essentially Pfizer vaccines”, the overseas ministry told AFP.
“For those who refuse to be vaccinated and prefer to abandon their quality of caregivers and are already asking for a professional retraining, we will support them, and there, we will need the regional council, so Ary Chalus (chairman of the council regional Guadeloupe, Editor’s note) will be mobilized on these subjects, “he added.
According to him, 87% of caregivers and 43% of firefighters are vaccinated.
Regarding the firefighters, “a mission from the Ministry of the Interior will be hard at work on site (Tuesday) to examine with them the ways and means to allow the conditions for the deployment of the vaccination obligation and also discuss the subjects specific to the functioning of the departmental fire and rescue service of Guadeloupe, “the head of government also announced on Monday.
The executive wants all the more to calm the situation as the tension is also rising in neighboring Martinique where a call for a general strike launched by 17 trade unions with various demands, including the end of the vaccination obligation for caregivers, led on Monday. blockages that have paralyzed a good part of economic activity.