The region denounces an act of “unprecedented violence” and the case has been traced back to Paris. Thursday, December 23, demonstrators from the anti-sanitary pass collective landed in the middle of the meeting of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, in Basse-Terre. An irruption that echoes the weeks of tensions and disputes in the archipelago. In a statement, the regional executive denounced the actions of the demonstrators, criticizing in passing “practices of intimidation and unworthy violence”.
“Destroying the furniture of the Region, (…), ransacking the offices of the agents, molesting journalists, insulting and threatening agents of the Guadeloupe Region is inexcusable! “, Wrote the executive in this press release. “The collective broke the entrance gate and the door to the reception hall, and they entered the hemicycle as a plenary session was ending”, according to a regional communications manager, contacted by the France Media Agency. According to her, the elected officials “had time to leave the hemicycle” and the president of the region, Ary Chalus “locked himself in his office”.
Put pressure on elected officials
According to an elected official, on condition of anonymity, the president then left the Regional Council. She added that demonstrators “blew things up on entering the building, they called us ‘chosen dogs’.” According to the region, “there are more than a hundred people in the hemicycle” but in total “more than 400 people” have invaded the premises. According to the images broadcast by Guadeloupe the 1st, the demonstrators invaded the hemicycle singing and waving flags, some waving a banner proclaiming “No to the vaccine obligation!” No to the health pass ”.
In Guadeloupe, where a first case of the Omicron variant was detected last Saturday, and where the 4th wave of covid-19 killed more than 800 people, resistance to vaccination is strong. The archipelago was affected in November by a protest movement, sometimes violent, born of the opposition to the obligation for nursing staff and firefighters to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The conflict turned into a social crisis. By entering the Regional Council, the demonstrators – a group of organizations, particularly trade unions and citizens, very demanding – intend to put pressure on elected officials so that they ask for the participation of the State in the negotiations intended to put a end to this crisis.
Elected officials “terrorized” according to a senator
“No claim justifies hindering the smooth running of an assembly of elected officials in full plenary session”, reacted on Twitter the Minister of Overseas Sébastien Lecornu. He specified that the prefect of Guadeloupe was “in contact with the president of the region” to “take the necessary measures in the face of the eruption of demonstrators”. “Today the elected officials are terrorized,” said Senator Victoire Jasmin, denouncing “unspeakable and disturbing acts” against the elected officials.
“We want elected officials to vote a motion to bring the state to the negotiating table,” explained Jean-Marie Nomertin, leader of the CGTG union, present in the hemicycle. “The state must get involved: it is he who has the financial levers for many negotiating points,” he added. “We asked to see the elected officials (…) We will stay until they agree to meet with us. We are in no hurry, ”he threatened. “The president of Region Ary Chalus accepts to receive a delegation of 10 people on condition that the Collective frees the hemicycle and the accesses of the Region”, specified the region.
Suspension of refractory caregivers on December 31
Three days ago, the Ministry of Overseas Territories announced that health personnel in the Antilles refractory to compulsory vaccination will be “suspended” on December 31 and will be able “to move into a new profession” via a “unit of ‘support and professional retraining’. Last weekend, demonstrations took place in several places on the island. On Saturday, the demonstrators blocked the access to the largest shopping center on the island for several hours, and a fire then broke out in the hypermarket.
In Martinique, the hotel of the local authority (CTM) in Cluny (Fort-de-France) was also the target of action on Thursday by opponents of the vaccine obligation and the health pass, but in smaller proportions. Protesters blocked access to the community hotel with pallets, branches and bins, Agence France-Presse noted. A delegation was finally received by elected officials, and the demonstrators left the scene at the end of the morning.