Thursday, May 19

Guadeloupe: action punches against the vaccine obligation while the epidemic resumes

A police car in front of the entrance to the University Hospital of Pointe-à-Pitre, in Guadeloupe, November 26, 2021 Christophe ARCHAMBAULT

The management offices of the Guadeloupe hospital besieged by anti-ax activists, the state of health emergency declared on the island due to the explosion in the number of Covid cases, the crisis does not end in Guadeloupe.

They are fifty to have taken position Tuesday at the end of the morning in front of the administrative building of the CHU, blocking entries and exits. The director of the CHU of Guadeloupe Gérard Cotellon and his two assistants had to be exfiltrated by the police, not without receiving “blows, insults and jets of urine”, according to their account.

Since July 17, activists against the vaccine obligation and the health pass have been mobilizing every weekend in Guadeloupe. The crisis reached its climax at the end of November when the collective of organizations “in struggle” called for a general mobilization which resulted in roadblocks and the blockage for three weeks of traffic in many places of the Isle.

The fight against the vaccine obligation now only concerns certain demonstrators “determined to go to the end”, according to the leaders of the various organizations, and who maintain sporadic meetings and actions.

A group of organizations, including trade unions and citizens, mostly opposed to the obligation to vaccinate against Covid-19 for nursing staff and firefighters had thus occupied the hemicycle of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe for almost 24 hours at the end of December, after having intruded in the middle of the plenary session.

– Fifth wave of the Covid –

The political class and the local authorities unanimously condemned the violence on Tuesday. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal expressed Wednesday at the end of the Council of Ministers “all (his) solidarity” with the director of the CHU, who was “beaten, kidnapped by anti-ax activists”. “It is shameful, it is revolting, it is scandalous, and it is inadmissible in the Republic”, he added.

The director general of the ARS Valérie Denux, she blasted in a press release this violence, indicating that “people who have acted thus can no longer qualify as health professionals”.

“The authors must be identified, found and condemned, just like their sponsors,” wrote the parliamentarians of Guadeloupe in a joint statement. “How can we, in the Republic, tolerate or at least allow violence to be committed against personnel whose only mission is to preserve and save lives?”, They were indignant, refusing “to take the hostage of the country”.

“These abuses, unworthy, are all the more worrying and irresponsible in a context where Guadeloupe is entering a fifth wave of the very worrying Covid”, wrote in a joint statement the elected officials of Guadeloupe, indicating to join “to the indignation and to the dissatisfaction of the entire hospital community “.

Due to the local explosion of Covid 19 contaminations, the government decided to place Guadeloupe, as well as the Northern Islands, in a state of health emergency, Wednesday in the Council of Ministers.

According to the epidemiological bulletin of December 29, which was to be updated Wednesday evening (local time), the island recorded more than 2,000 new positive cases for Covid the last week of December, against around 550 the previous week. The Omicron variant represented 45% of the samples, according to the same source.

In Guadeloupe, resistance to vaccination is still strong, according to figures from the ARS: less than 50% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. On the other hand, vaccination rates among people subject to compulsory vaccination reach more than 95%. Thus, “96% of the staff of the CHU comply with the vaccination obligation,” said one at the hospital.

However, no attempt at negotiation could succeed between elected officials, the State and the mobilized collective. For now, the collective announces new gatherings and meetings to come.

President Emmanuel Macron, interviewed by the daily Le Parisien, triggered the controversy on Tuesday by declaring that he “really wants to piss off” the unvaccinated.

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