Languages
Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Guadeloupe protests turn deadly

French policemen stand in front of burning cars in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, 18 February 2009
Protesters threw stones at lines of police from behind burning barricades

France has appealed for calm on its Caribbean island of Guadeloupe after a local official died during protests against the rising cost of living.

The union representative was shot dead as he drove up to a barricade set up by youths in Guadeloupe's biggest town, Pointe-a-Pitre, local officials said.

Earlier, police had responded after coming under a barrage of stones from protesters who burned cars in the town.

Several were reportedly injured as police used tear gas to disperse them.

In recent days, the month-long general strike on Guadeloupe has spread to the French island of Martinique, 160km (100 miles) to the south, where looting has been reported amid thousands-strong rallies demanding higher wages.

map

Violence would not solve the problem, government spokesman Luc Chatel told Europe-1 radio, urging both workers and employers to resume stalled salary negotiations.

Mr Chatel said a return to calm was "the most important thing".

The protests and strikes have brought the islands to a standstill. They escalated on Tuesday night as protesters burned cars and looted buildings in Pointe-a-Pitre and Sainte-Anne.

Three police were injured as they came under fire from the looters and more than a dozen arrests were made.

FROM THE BBC WORLD SERVICE

Guadeloupe's airport was closed on Tuesday as workers could not pass through debris-clogged roads.

Thousands of tourists - an important source of revenue - have cancelled their holidays in Guadeloupe and Martinique.

The islands have a high cost of living and use the euro.

Correspondents say many residents feel their salaries are not keeping up with rising prices.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Violent strikes on French island
17 Feb 09 |  Europe
French isles top EU jobless table
16 Feb 09 |  Europe
France faces unrest in Caribbean
12 Feb 09 |  Europe
Regions and territories: Guadeloupe
22 Apr 08 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Martinique
29 Aug 12 |  Country profiles

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Taipei Times Online French authorities face third night of Guadeloupe unrest - 2 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald Guadeloupe talks on as Sarkozy aims to quell unrest - 4 hrs ago
Sky News Paradise Lost: Tourists Leave Riot Islands - 13 hrs ago
CNN French police to tackle Guadeloupe violence - 13 hrs ago
The EconomistThe restless Caribbean: Unhappy islanders - 16 hrs ago
* Requires registration



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific