New violence erupts on French island Martinique

26th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

In a second night of violence, protesters blocked streets, set fire to garbage bins and rammed vehicles into stores.

FORT-DE-FRANCE – Protesters set fire to garbage bins and rammed vehicles into hypermarkets Wednesday in a second night of violence on the strike-stricken French Caribbean island of Martinique.

Protesters blocked several streets of the island's capital Fort-de-France with trash bins, some of which were sent ablaze. Smoke rose above the city while tear gas could be smelled across town.

Police used tear gas to drive back young protesters on a Fort-de-France boulevard and prevented several attempts at looting.

But the metallic barriers of at least three large stores were broken, reports said.

A stolen car ploughed into the gate of the Carrefour Dillon hypermarket, according to RCI radio.

Police were deployed to protect the store. About 50 metres away, a group of youths took positions along the entrance of a highway, some of them holding Molotov cocktails.

Assailants drove a tractor into another store, Intersport, before police arrived. According to local journalists, another sports store was looted.

On Tuesday night, around 20 small stores and two mid-sized stores were looted and vandalised, while several cars were set ablaze.

Martinique and the neighbouring French island of Guadeloupe have been on strike for weeks, demanding higher wages to cope with the high cost of living on the tourist islands.

AFP / Expatica

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