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Looting and fires break out during Covid protests on France’s Martinique

unrest triggered by covid 19 curbs spreads to martinique
People divert traffic at a barricade blocking the road leading to the airport after unrest triggered by COVID-19 curbs, which have already rocked the nearby island of Guadeloupe, in Fort-De-France, Martinique November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

Protesters looted shops and set up burning barricades overnight on France’s Caribbean island of Martinique, France Info reported on Thursday, as demonstrations against Covid-19 protocols intensified.

France Info published a video of protesters targeting a shopping centre and running away with goods, as well as videos of demonstrators setting up burning barricades on roads.

France’s Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe have been hit by unrest over the last week due to anger over COVID protocol measures, such as moves to ramp COVID vaccination on the islands.

Compulsory vaccination has touched a nerve in a population that is descended from slaves who worked on French sugar plantations. During the 20th century, many people on Guadeloupe were also systematically exposed to toxic pesticides used in banana plantations.

The Caribbean has been hit in recent weeks by a new wave of coronavirus infections that is causing lockdowns and flight cancellations and overwhelming hospitals, just as tourism was beginning to show signs of recovery.

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