Health pass, social issues: anger is growing in Guadeloupe



The curfew, established by the prefect Alexandre Rochatte, from Friday November 19, will not have allowed the rest of Guadeloupe. This weekend, major clashes broke out in Pointe-à-Pitre, Petit-Bourg or even in Gosier, including fires, looting and clashes with the police.

On WhatsApp, the rumor, viral, circulates that a young person has been killed by the police. The prefecture may deny the information, the situation became even more tense during the night of November 19 to 20. To the sound of the gendarmerie helicopter which flew over the archipelago, responded “live bullet” shots, said a police source.

→ CONTEXT. The state imposes a curfew in Guadeloupe

In reinforcement, the State has just sent two hundred gendarmes and police officers as well as about fifty agents of the Raid and the GIGN. In total, around 2,500 police forces are now present on site.

Difficult living conditions

These riots are the result of a handful of young people who have ” nothing to see “ with the general strike, recognized the authorities. As of November 15, a call for an unlimited general strike was launched in the archipelago by a collective of trade union and citizen organizations to protest against the health pass and the vaccination obligation of caregivers.

“It is obvious that we cannot support the misdeeds of the rioters”, confirmed Patricia Pioche, assistant secretary of the UGTG union. “But you have to understand that their anger, their violence, responds to what they consider to be violence, this one invisible, of the State. “

In Guadeloupe, the measures against Covid-19 were the last straw that broke an already too full vase: “This is a new attack on our freedoms, which we have been mistreating for centuries”, asserts Sandhya Féras, nurse at the University Hospital of Guadeloupe, in Pointe-à-Pitre, and founding member of the political movement Alyans Nasyonal Gwadloup (ANG).

If the hospital caregivers have been mobilized since October and the start of the suspensions of vaccinated staff, they are now joined by other socio-professional categories – petrol station employees, hotel workers, civil servants and even teachers. who all denounce “Unworthy and degraded living conditions”.

“No problem has improved since the mobilizations of 2009”

The demands have thus taken on a new scale, going beyond the only vaccination obligation, and blockages have spread all over the island. On the picket lines, are cited jumbled wages which stagnate, the price of gasoline which increases, the lack of means at the hospital, the still defective water network, the delays of the public school, the pollution with chlordecone, a toxic and persistent insecticide.

These themes are recurrent with each social mobilization and were already central in 2009, during the great general strike led by the LKP collective, which paralyzed the archipelago for forty-seven days. “No problem has been resolved since”, regrets Sandhya Feras.

The unions have already warned that, without real negotiation, the situation would take an identical turn. From this Monday, November 22, the local elected officials – castigated by the strikers – must be received by Prime Minister Jean Castex. Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health, will discuss with representatives of nursing staff and firefighters.

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