Monday, January 17

Martinique: at the Lézarde bridge, the police facing the dams

“Tonight, it’s the Lézarde bridge”: like every evening for a week, the gendarmes sent as reinforcements to Martinique, intervened Tuesday evening on one of the many dams blocking the island.

Earlier, during a press conference, the Minister of Overseas Affairs, Sébastien Lecornu, who came to meet with the unions and elected officials, had warned: “freedom of movement is a major issue”, “a plan for liberation axes will decline in the next few hours and days. “

Three hours later, a squadron of gendarmerie headed towards the Lézarde bridge in Lamentin, a few kilometers east of Fort-de-France, which had been occupied since the same morning. The district being in police zone, a commissioner is embarked in the squadron.

The occupants of the dam, “know that we are coming. We have two solutions, either they have already left, or they are waiting for us and we do not know what can happen,” told AFP a officer who participated in the ‘surgery.

The bridge is strategic because it spans the A1 motorway, a very busy axis that has also been blocked since the morning. Tires are blazing on the tracks. The elite unit of the national police, the Raid, intervened.

This time, the occupants chose the first option: only left on the bridge piles of tires that were used during the day to filter traffic.

During previous interventions at other points, the demonstrators had chosen to stay put and face the gendarmes, not hesitating to roll a car ram on them and even to fire live ammunition.

“In a few days, in Martinique, more than a hundred shots were fired at police and gendarmerie soldiers,” Lecornu said.

– 57 arrests in Martinique –

During the day, the roadblocks are occupied by strikers, trade unionists, mothers … In the evening, while the island is under curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., young people occupy the place, often giving way to violence.

Born from the refusal of this vaccination obligation for caregivers and firefighters, the movement of discontent in the West Indies has spread to political and social demands, in particular against the high cost of living, causing violence, looting and fires.

He won Martinique where the dispute began on November 22. Like Guadeloupe, the island is placed under curfew.

On the Lézarde bridge, the 62 men and women of the gendarmerie squadron are deployed and “stand guard” to avoid new regroupings.

A company is called in to evacuate the tires and firefighters to put out the fires on the freeway. The few motorists are asked to turn around.

Gendarmes accompany the Raid in the neighboring city to carry out checks. Some building balconies are briefly lit with spotlights from the police.

There will be no arrest this evening in the sector of the Lézarde bridge but since the start of the conflict in Martinique, 57 people have been arrested, according to the minister.

At the foot of one of these small buildings, in driving rain, a dented car is also evacuated.

It did not have time to be used to block traffic as on many roundabouts on the island, now littered with charred car wrecks.

A new squadron of gendarmerie is due to arrive soon from mainland France, bringing their number to five in Martinique, as in Guadeloupe, which is experiencing the same social tensions.

To these gendarmes are added reinforcements from the Raid and the GIGN but also reinforcements from police officers from other territories and in particular from Guyana, detailed the minister.

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