Authorities took over some gas stations in Martinique during protests | Coronavirus pandemic news

Protests against COVID-19 restrictions, including mandatory crackdowns on health workers, are attacking Caribbean island territories.

The French authorities announced that they will control some gas stations on the Caribbean island of Martinique due to concerns about fuel supply after several days of protests against measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Residents are angry about the management of the pandemic—especially the vaccination requirements for health workers—and burning roadblocks have been set up in recent days, in some cases Exchange fire with the police.

Vaccine regulations also apply to health workers in mainland France, but it touched the nerves of the majority of the black population in Martinique and neighboring islands. Guadaloupe.

Some people called the order a step backwards from the era of slavery, insisting that they should be allowed to make their own choices about health treatments.

The governor of Martinique said in a statement that “due to the supply risks of gas stations,” it will take over seven gas stations to ensure the supply of emergency personnel such as firefighters and ambulances.

In recent days, protesters have set up roadblocks, in some cases including burning cars.

An eyewitness told Reuters that after a union leader called for the removal of roadblocks due to violence, local authorities removed some debris.

Serge Letchimy and Lucien Saliber of the Martinique Territorial Collective (CTM), the administrative body that administers the island, called for calm and condemned the violence that occurred near the roadblock. “We must call on everyone to stay calm,” CTM wrote on its Twitter account.

France’s BFM TV station earlier quoted the police as saying that gunfire had sounded for the second night in a row.

The Martinique teacher and 21-year-old Alexane Ozier-Lafontaine, who participated in the protests, said that people are angry about the enforcement of vaccines and the cancellation of local holidays.

During the riots caused by the COVID-19 curb in Fort-de-France, Martinique, a woman walked past a roadblock that blocked the road to the airport [Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters]

She also said that compared with locals, tourists face fewer restrictions on movement.

“People are very angry about this,” Ozil-Lafontaine said in a telephone interview on Wednesday, adding that she heard gunshots on Tuesday night.

Protesters are also angry at the use of a chemical pesticide called chlordecone on banana plantations in Guadeloupe and Martinique. This pesticide has been linked to the abnormally high incidence of prostate cancer on the two islands.

According to French media reports, agricultural workers have been exposed to chlordecone for decades, and French President Emmanuel Macron referred to this situation as an “environmental scandal.”


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