So, these are events that were happening on my birthday. It's so hard in some ways to imagine these actions in these places where I have been. I know what these places look like. But these islands were enthusiastic participants in the French Revolution. Josephine came from Martinque. These were the islands that resisted with everything they had when Napoleon determined to re-establish slavery. It's very easy to block traffic there.
Guadeloupe Strikers Block Roads, Close Airport, Appeal for Solidarity
1) Appeal to the International Workers' and Democratic Movements
2) Guadeloupe Strikers Block Roads, Close Airport
Appeal to the International Workers' and Democratic Movements
Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon Site officiel du collectif d'organisations syndicales, associatives, politiques & culturelles de Guadeloupe www.lkp-gwa.org
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
As we wrote in our last international appeal ofFebruary 6, 2009: "The bosses and the representativeso f the French State are hoping that the general strik ewill die down, so that they can then begin the repression."
This is visibly the political thinking that prompted the French State to take action, as they did on February 16.
In the face of the obstinate refusal by the French State and the bosses to heed our demands, in the faceof their scorn for the people of Guadeloupe, theLiannaj Kont Pwofitation Strike Collective, or LKP, issued a call to the population on the 28th day of the General Strike to reinforce the picket lines across thecountry. The French State proceeded to repress themovement, seriously injuring one trade union leader,i njuring others less seriously, and arresting more than 70 activists, including many trade union leaders of the LKP Strike Collective.
The population, the workers, the youth have said,"Enough is Enough!" They refuse to give up the struggle.
A number of elected officials protested against thisState violence, which was also denounced by the LKP.
The workers, the youth, the people of Guadeloupe have strengthened their mobilizations on the ground. Their resolute actions won the freedom of all the jailed activists.
Today, on the 29th day of the general strike [Feb. 17],Guadeloupe is paralyzed by barricades in nearly every commune.
Youth were arrested the night of February 16-17, 2009.
This repression is going to continue, as the French State has just sent in a reinforcement of 1,000 mobile police troops [to bolster the 4,000 troops sent in on Feb. 7 -- translator's note]. The LKP has issued a call to the population to reinforce their mobilizations.
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
In the name of international labor solidarity, in the name of democracy, we call upon you once more to request your support for our just struggle.
The workers and people of Guadeloupe have the right to fight for their legitimate demands!
ADIM - AFOC - AGPIHM - AKIYO - AN BOUT'AY - ANG - ANKA- ASSE - ASS. AGRICULTEURS DU NORD BASSE-TERRE -ASS. LIBERTE EGALITE JUSTICE - CFTC - CGTG - CNL -COMBAT OUVRIER - COMITE DE L'EAU - CONVENTION POUR UNE GUADELOUPE NOUVELLE - COPAGUA - CSFG - CTU - ESPERANCEENVIRONNEMENT - FAEN SNCL - FO - FSU - GIE SBT -KAMODJAKA - KAP Gwadloup - LES VERTS - MADICE - MAS KAKLE - MOUVMAN NONM - PCG - SGEP/SNEC/CFTC - SOS B/TerreENVIRONNEMENT - SPEG - SUD PTT GWA - SUNICAG - SYMPACFDT - TRAVAYE Ã© PEYIZAN - UDCLCV - UIR CFDT - UNSA -UGTG - UPG - UPLG - UMPG - VOukoum-SNUIPP-ADEIC --Guadeloupe, February 17, 2009
Guadeloupe Strikers Block Roads, Close Airport
Associated PressFebruary 17, 2009
The French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe was on the verge of rebellion, a political leader said Tuesday after stone-throwing protesters set cars and buildings ablaze, forced the international airport to close and clashed with police.
Nearly four weeks of work stoppages and demonstrations for lower prices and higher pay have caused thousands of tourists to flee or cancel holidays on the normally tranquil island, prompting many hotels to close and cruise ships to head elsewhere.
"It is a political crisis, an institutional crisis andwe are on the brink of sedition," Guadeloupe's Regional Council President Victorin Lurel told France-Info radio.
From Paris, France's Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the protests had caused "degradation, devastation and confrontations" on Guadeloupe and its sister island, Martinique, where most shops and offices have been closed by the protests.
She urged "calm, responsibility and restraint" and said she hoped for a resumption of talks with protesters that broke down last week.
Police said they arrested 18 people overnight as protesters burned cars, a library and a boat-rental store in Sainte-Anne and Point-a-Pitre. An official, speaking on the standard condition of anonymity, said at least three officers suffered minor wounds due to gunshots fired by looters taking advantage of the chaos.
Guadeloupe's main airport was closed Tuesday because workers could not pass through barricaded and debris-clogged roads, said Guadeloupe's top appointed official, Nicolas Desforges, and several flights were canceled.
Paris has refused to budge on strikers' demands for a 200 euro ($250) monthly raise for low-paid workers who now make roughly 900 euros ($1,130) a month. But business leaders in Martinique have agreed to lower prices by 20 percent on 100 products, including food items.
Strikers want prices cut on nearly all supermarket products -- a step that Stephane Hayot, a spokesman for the National Union of Wholesale Distributors, said "would represent our death sentence" by forcing themto sell at prices that don't cover their costs.
Police detained 50 demonstrators on Monday after they were pelted by stones as they tried to take down barricades. Roadblocks were being gradually lifted Tuesday morning and a trickle of vehicle traffic was resuming, the police official said.
The U.S. Embassy in Paris issued Americans in Guadeloupe and Martinique to avoid crowds.
"Most commercial activities have ceased, and there are mounting shortages of food, water, and power on both islands," the embassy said. "In Guadeloupe there are reports of increasing tensions, with armed gangs blockading routes and targeting residents and tourists. There have been no reports of U.S. citizens beingspecifically targeted."
In Martinique, taxi and bus drivers blocked streets onT uesday and honked their horns as they arrived at city hall in the capital, Fort-de-France.
Lurel warned that the islands were heading toward"radicalization, a rise in extremism."
"We have the impression that we have been abandoned, that there is an organized indifference," he told the radio station.